Cowboys eager to kick off regular season this Sunday

FRISCO -- After four pretty terrible preseason games featuring mostly backup and eventually-cut players, the (real) Cowboys team is ready to play for real this Sunday at Carolina!

"I'm excited for game day already; I wish it was here," said rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch following Wednesday's practice.  "It'll be exciting to get out there and get going in the regular season and see how things go."

Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who didn't play at all in the preseason to avoid injury, is especially excited for the trench war between the offensive and defensive lines.

"We're going against a great defensive front, and obviously we have the best offensive front in the league, and I think it's going to be a battle."

But, because the starters for both teams played so little in the preseason, how to plan for that battle is a bit of a mystery for the coaching staff.

"There's uncertainty," said head coach Jason Garrett.  "You're watching some tape from the preseason, but typically that's not what the team is going to really do once the regular season starts."

One thing is for sure: expectations are high in the Cowboys' locker room, even if they're not quite as high outside of it.

"We have a lot of doubters," said rookie receiver Michael Gallup.  "That's common, I guess, for this team.  I don't really know what it is.  Everybody thinks we're not going to be good.  I think we're going to be pretty fine; fun to watch, exciting.  I'm ready for it."

So are we!  Game time Sunday afternoon is 3:25 pm.