IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys get back into their Organized Team Activities on Wednesday after taking a day off at their annual sponsors’ golf tournament Tuesday.
As practice prepares to get underway, I’ve been wondering a few questions to myself about the makeup of this roster as we move toward training camp in Oxnard, California.
- Who of the Undrafted Rookie Free Agents has the best chance to stick on the 53?
It’s really early to try and answer this question, but I will give it a go. I would have said offensive tackle Jarrod Pughsley first if he had not hurt his knee.
I really like what I have seen from cornerback Tyler Patmon in regard to how he has covered so far. He is very competitive and has the quickness to stay with his man. He can also play in the slot, so that helps his cause as well. If he can mentally pick things up quickly, he has a great shot. Safety Ryan Smith is one of those kids that doesn’t seem intimidated by the pro game. I have seen him line up Ahmad Dixon several times, and he always appears near the ball. He can also cover out of the slot.
Defensive tackle Davon Coleman has been super productive in these practices. Like at Arizona State, he has lined up at all the positions along the line. There is value in the way he plays. I have heard that running back Ben Malena is a heck of a special teams player, so we will see when we get to those preseason games.
We will also see what kind of player J.C. Copeland is when the pads come on, but he has a shot as well if he can prove to handle the job.
- What veteran player should be worried about keeping his roster spot?
It would very easy for me to answer this question and just say Matt Johnson, which I believe is truly the case if his health does not improve. But this might even be the case with the competition at the position. There is no guarantee for him at all.
I am also keeping a very close eye on the competition at the swing tackle spot with Jermey Parnell and Darrion Weems. The odd man out here might find himself traded or on the street. You could also say this about the battle between Mackenzy Bernadeau and Tyronne Green. I believe that they are going to only carry one of these guys and that is why you are seeing both of them getting work at both center and guard.
As well as he has shown in these early practices, there still are questions about Ben Bass, because the talent level at the positions that he plays has greatly improved.
- More pressure on Scott Linehan or Rod Marinelli in 2014?
There is always pressure on all of these coaches and that goes without saying, but if I had to selection one guy, it would be Marinelli.
From what I have seen from this squad over the past several seasons, there are more pieces in place for this offense to have potential success. The front office made the commitment to try and improve the defense through the draft and free agency. They even went out and added an injured Anthony Spencer in hope that he might be able to add depth at a later date.
Marinelli must now figure out how to play without Sean Lee and do it with backup players. Marinelli will also need to find a way to get Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to also play at a much higher level, whether that is through scheme or technique. Other than say a Barry Church or Orlando Scandrick, there is not one position or player where these defensive coaches can hang their hats on and that has to be a huge concern. This defense is not void of talent but the pressure will be on Rod Marinelli to pull it all together.