How to watch: Cowboys host Texans in ‘dress rehearsal’ preseason game

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Dallas Cowboys offense and defense line up during during NFL football practice in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

ARLINGTON (KXAN) — The Cowboys and Texans only get to face off once every four years in the regular season, but the preseason allows for the Governor’s Cup to be played every year. Tonight’s game, though, will be the first meeting of these in-state rivals in two years, because the pandemic canceled last year’s preseason.

Week two of the preseason is seen as the most important game, with teams treating it as a dress rehearsal. For Dallas, that’s more the case on defense, partially because of injuries on offense — Dak Prescott is still being held out as he recovers from a shoulder strain — but also just because Mike McCarthy thinks the defense is further along than the offense.

“Defense has done a great job just with grasping the concepts, new concepts, the understanding,” McCarthy said. “I think any time you have so much new, from the coaching staff to the veteran players to the rookie class, I think the way this group has come together has been very impressive. They clearly are in sync.”

That progress on defense means more playing time for the starters tonight as one final tune-up for the season opener in less than three weeks.

“We’re not on the same play time plane [on] offense and defense,” McCarthy said. “I think our defense will reflect more of where you like to be in this third game, so you’ll see some of those guys go the whole first half. Just because of the injuries, and the combination of players on offense, you’ll probably see the younger players earlier on offense than you do on defense.”

With Prescott still out, former Longhorn and Lake Travis Cavalier Garrett Gilbert will get the start.

For Houston, veteran Tyrod Taylor will likely get the start under center ahead of third-round draft pick Davis Mills. Deshaun Watson likely didn’t even make the trip to North Texas. He made an appearance at practice on Thursday after not being seen for the past week. He also didn’t make the trip to Green Bay for the Texans’ first preseason game.

How to watch

Tonight’s preseason game will be on KXAN with kickoff at 7 p.m. There will be an hour pregame show that starts at 6 p.m.

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