When the Dallas Cowboys begin their season, they’ll immediately be missing three starters. CB Orlando Scandrick was lost to an ACL/MCL injury last week, while DE Greg Hardy and LB Rolando McClain will each have to serve a four game suspension.
That being said, you will see 55 men on the roster below. The two extra men account for the roster spots that will be used while Hardy and McClain are away for four games.
|T. Crawford||T. Crawford|
|J. Crawford||J. Crawford|
It’s easy to see that the backup play behind Romo has been subpar. I don’t think that anyone has made their case to the Cowboys to encourage them to add another roster spot there. I believe they’ll roll with 2 QBs, because once we get to Romo’s backup, we’re in trouble anyway.
I think we’ll see the Cowboys go deep at DL, especially given the way Marinelli likes to rotate through players. McCray was tough to project, but given the loss of Spillman, the Cowboys may keep him around strictly for what he offers on STs, though he may not be the McCray of old.
If it were up to me, I’d be more inclined to keep Keith Smith at LB than Jasper Brinkley based on their preseason performances, but Brinkley’s contract tells me to follow the money. I’d love to see the Cowboys be bold here, and make that move… so long as they’re comfortable. We may not see that until after McClain comes back from his suspension, if at all.
The fifth WR spot is hard to predict as well, and the 5th guy may not even be on this team. But so far, Lucky has caught 4-of-6 passes thrown his way. His running with the #1s against Minnesota can only be seen as a good thing, catching a TD pass from Romo. Lucky is not to be overlooked in the run game, either, as he’s made nice blocks there for a rookie WR. I would’ve liked to see AJ Jenkins take this spot, but he’s 2-of-5 on catches thrown his way, and doesn’t play special teams. That could hurt him.
I could easily see the Cowboys cutting Gibson and Bishop once Hardy and McClain are through with their suspensions. All in all, the Cowboys don’t have very many roster spots to fill from last season, and will cut some decent talent along the way. That’s a good problem to have. I could also potentially see Hanna being used as trade bait a la Dante Rosario.
Dustin Vaughan hasn’t shown me anything to make me hesitate cutting him and going long at a position like the defensive line. Probably the biggest surprise in my projection is AJ Jenkins over Lucky Whitehead. I think Lucky lost his spot on the team when Cole Beasley proved to be an effective punt returner. He isn’t the sexy threat that you would prefer but he’s steady. That being said, I don’t think Jenkins spot is safe. While he has come on in recent weeks and he does have great draft pedigree I believe his spot is available should a WR/KR shake loose that the front office likes.
Once Week 4 rolls around Hardy and McClain will return from their suspensions prompting a pair of cuts. I’ve gone long at both linebacker and defensive line to accommodate this. I’ve liked what I have seen from the younger players so far this offseason so to make room for McClain I would cut Brinkley and keep Smith. Cutting a defensive lineman to make room for Hardy will be a tough decision.
It will likely come down to either Bishop or Edwards. However, in a perfect world the young guys will continue to push the pocket from the 1-tech position causing Hayden to become expendable. John Wetzel is an extra offensive lineman that could be replaced when Chaz Green is healthy.