DALLAS - The 2017 NFL season comes to an unfortunate end for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday when they visit the Philadelphia Eagles. With the Cowboys out of the playoff picture and the Eagles locking up home-field advantage, there isn’t anything on the line except for pride. The Cowboys are looking to end their season on a high note heading into the offseason.
These are the five players who should get a close look.
The team should take a long look at their backup quarterback in the finale. There is no reason to risk Dak Prescott for a meaningless game and especially so with left tackle Tyron Smith likely to miss the game. The worst-case scenario is to watch their franchise quarterback go down in the final game of the season in a game that means nothing.
Rush, an undrafted free agent, showed enough promise in four games during the preseason that he eventually unseated Kellen Moore in the role as backup. Rush should be given the opportunity against stiffer competition to see if he's a long term answer for the backup job.
Even with Ezekiel Elliott back for his second game following his suspension the Cowboys have questions beyond Zeke at the running back position. Alfred Morris’ contract expires following Sunday’s game and it isn’t likely that he returns.
Smith has shown the ability to make plays when given the opportunity. The Cowboys need to give the ball to Smith 15-20 times in the finale. Smith could step into a bigger role and be yet another weapon for Dallas moving into 2018.
Many felt that Charlton was a waste of resources when he was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cowboys were in desperate need of pass rush help given that Randy Gregory would once again miss the season due to suspension.
There wasn’t much to write home about early on in his rookie campaign, but Charlton has played better as of late. In his first seven games, Taco failed to record a sack but over the last eight he has recorded three sacks and 10 tackles. Rookie pass rushers don’t typically have productive seasons from the jump and he now has something he can build upon.
Noah Brown was a teammate of Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State with minimal production. Many felt Zeke’s influence is what caused the Cowboys to take a late round flyer on a raw talent. With an injury to Brice Butler, Brown has been given more of an opportunity of late.
Brown hasn’t had much of a productive season with only four receptions for 33 yards and has mostly been used in schemes designed for the wide receiver to block down the field.
With Dez Bryant dealing with a knee issue, there's no reason to risk worsening the injury. The team should look to get Brown involved in the passing game against the Eagles. This will help give the Cowboys an idea of what the future could hold for the 21-year old wide receiver.
Ryan Switzer is basically a carbon copy of Cole Beasley with more ability in the return game. His draft selection made many wonder what sort of offensive packages could be drawn up given that he wouldn’t see much time with Beasley on the field.
Much like Brown, Switzer’s production on offense has been limited. Switzer was only targeted twice in 15 games for a total of nine yards. His lone big play came on a punt return for a touchdown. Given his quickness and vision, Switzer could be a player that could produce something similar to Beasley’s 2016 season if given the chance to develop.
Are you hoping to see more reps from Rush and the rookies or would you rather the Cowboys play for pride against Philly? Share your take with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.
© 2018 WFAA-TV