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NFL Preseason Preview - Dallas (1-0) at Oakland (0-0)



By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - Dallas will aim to build on its Hall of Fame Game win when they visit the Bay Area to take on the Oakland Raiders.

Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle were the standout performers in the 50th edition of the Hall of Fame Game as the Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins, 24-20, at Fawcett Stadium last week.

Tanner and Randle paced the Cowboys' rushing attack, with Tanner receiving 10 first-half carries to accumulate 59 yards and a touchdown. Randle added 70 yards on 13 touches.

The Cowboys, who are coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons and have missed the playoffs in three straight years, played without quarterback Tony Romo, instead shifting between Kyle Orton, Nick Stephens and Alex Tanney.

"Being able to run the ball helps a lot," said Romo. "If we run the ball well, we're going to keep calling the runs. We need to run the ball better this year just in general. To me, that's an important aspect of what we're trying to do and we need to do that."

Romo was made the face of the franchise this offseason, inking a six-year extension worth a reported $108 million. While healthy, he is coming off April back surgery and the Cowboys kept him out just as a precaution.

Romo along with the Cowboys' other starters are expected to play no more than one series against the Raiders.

"We're not going to show very much in this game," Romo said. "We might show some things we've done before. We're still talking about (it)."

It seems like Oakland starts a "new era" every year or two and 2013 will be no exception as former Green Bay and Seattle backup quarterback Matt Flynn should finally get his chance as a starting signal-caller.

Reggie McKenzie came over from Green Bay before last season and is still trying to wash the Al Davis craziness out of the Raiders but hasn't done a spectacular job, at least to this point.

Oakland really needed help on the defensive line after the departures of tackles Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly, as well as end Matt Shaughnessy. Underwhelming types like nose tackle Pat Sims and under tackle Vance Walker were brought in as McKenzie focused on reaching for Houston corner D.J. Hayden in the draft.

The Raiders loved Hayden so much they almost wasted the No. 3 overall pick to get him before wisely trading down and getting him at 12. They could have dropped another 10 spots at least.

"We need to get guys who want it," McKenzie told ESPN. "I think this team, as a whole, wants it. You need talent but you need high-desire players. Sometimes, that is more important than talent. Now, we have talent, but the key is to find guys who have both. We think we have the kind of guys who can be here when we turn this thing around."

The Cowboys and Raiders have faced each other 28 times in preseason action with Dallas claiming a win just 10 times.

08/08 16:38:39 ET


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