IRVING, Texas - Saturday was roster reduction day for the member clubs of the National Football League that were required to trim their squads down to the mandatory number of 53 players as it prepares to kick off to the season Thursday night in Denver. On Friday afternoon on DallasCowboys.com. I posted what I believed the breakdown of the roster might consistent of but now that we have their 53 players, let's take a closer look.
- It was no surprise to me that they will carry five wide receivers. I have believed all along that was going to be the case. The question here was if Cole Beasley would have been beaten out by Anthony Armstrong who had some special teams value but he just didn't finish strong enough for this front office and coaches to make that switch. Look for Tim Benford and Danny Coale to get consideration for the practice squad if they go unclaimed.
- Since the announcement during the draft by Jason Garrett that we would see more "12" personnel, the need to keep more tight ends in the mix was an area I paid close attention to. With no true fullback on the roster, my gut told me that they were going to keep four. This is where I believe the front office and coaches had a big discussion. Keeping Andre Smith is not a bad thing because he can fill the role of a solid inline blocker and there were plenty of plays where he did show the ability in practices while in Oxnard that he had soft hands and could catch the ball down the field. The question that I am sure was asked is did he have a better camp than Dante Rosario? In my view, he in fact did, but where Rosario had the advantage on him was on special teams and I am sure that was the deciding factor in why this club decided to keep five on the roster
- The plan was to go with nine offensive linemen but I don't believe they are married to these backups and if something were to appear for them on the waiver wire these next three days, I believe they will be in the claiming game. Was surprised that Nate Livings holds an active spot here after what we had heard from Jerry Jones about his knee condition. I thought he might have gone on injured reserve and worked from there but he is on the 53. Darrion Weems in my view is holding down the last spot and if they have to make a move, I have a feeling that he will be the one switched out. From watching him run on Thursday night, Ronald Leary should be back at practice for Giants' week.
- As much as people wanted to believe that Alex Tanney was going to be on this squad as the third quarterback, with all the injuries to other positions, it just wasn't going to happen. The front office would hope to get him through but if doesn't happen, you make other plans. Kyle Orton is an established NFL quarterback and if something were to happen to Tony Romo, he is more than capable to handle the job.
- I like what Gary Brown has done with these running backs and I have no problem with any of the four that they have kept on this roster. It's a strong group, that each bring a different skill set. I thought this was the best training camp that I had seen from DeMarco Murray in his three seasons with the Cowboys. This offensive scheme is tailor made for his running style.
- There are roster moves that are made this time of year that I understand, then there are others where I totally have no clue. I must have badly misevaluated the type of camp that Sterling Moore was having for this football team. I even had him in my top ten of players coming out of camp as we left Oxnard but now he is on the street. I felt like the last two weeks, Moore was in a bit of a battle with Micah Pellerin but he was also released as well. Moore saw action in the Texans game even finishing with four tackles and a nice play at the sticks to get his teammates off the field on third down. He showed some position flexibility playing outside, slot and even some safety. This move also says a great deal of what they think of B.W. Webb and his development. The decision to keep six safeties, I believe to have more to do with the issues on special teams. If this hold true and they do not move one of them, you could see all six dress for a game. Danny McCray and Eric Frampton are core guys but it will be hard to keep J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath off the field as well. There is a possibility of adding another corner here to help if one shows up on the wire or a veteran after the opening weekend.
- Nick Hayden clearly out played Sean Lissemore and in my mind, there were real questions whether he had a spot on this roster. From the first day that I laid eyes on Landon Cohen, I knew he had a chance to make this roster. His body type and quickness off the snap is the type of player that these defensive coaches like to play with in this scheme. In a rotating system, he can give some quality reps along with Ben Bass, who finally played to the level that I believed he could against the Texans. George Selvie will backup Anthony Spencer at left end, while Kyle Wilber is on the opposite side. I have to admit that I am concerned about the level of play from Kyle Wilber, who has struggled in games this Summer. Wilber is playing the best side for him which is the right side but it's just not clicking for him now. Would love to see them get Jason Vega to the practice squad, like Cohen, there is something to work with there.
- The Texans game was an eye opener for Ernie Sims at linebacker but when he studies the game, I am sure he will know exactly what happened to him and make those corrections. During training camp, this appeared to be a deep position for the squad with some nice young talent. If I was disappointed in a player, it was how Brandon Magee played other than the Arizona game. When we got to Oxnard, I fully expected him to make a roster run here but it never happened. He didn't have the nose for the ball or become that consistent play maker that I observed on film at Arizona State. He was a difficult guy to block in college but there were too many days where he was easily blocked. The coaches tried to work with him every day, even trying him in other positions but it just didn't work. Some other club that watched the same tape might feel that he is better than what he showed these games and put a claim in for him. I believe he has talent and if he can get to the practice squad that would help him.
The Cowboys roster is now set at 53 players but we all know that it is far from finished. The club will set their practice squads on Sunday afternoon and claims will also be awarded as well. It's will be a long night for the scouts as they wait for the waiver wire to come from the league office in New York and they begin the job of putting their boards together. There is no doubt in my mind that this front office will be aggressive in attempting to make some waiver claims on Sunday. This is the second draft for the clubs and they have to be ready to take full advantage of it.