FRISCO, Texas – "It's no secret," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones reiterated Wednesday.
When roster cuts come across the league Saturday, the Cowboys will be keeping an eye out for help at two thin roster positions: safety and interior offensive line.
"We're on the hunt for Red October there," Jones said at the team's annual Kickoff Luncheon, referencing the classic Tom Clancy thriller.
Depth is strained at both spots due to injuries and last week's announcement that Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick will be sidelined indefinitely due to a Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disease that affects the nerves.
The Cowboys are confident in Joe Looney at center until Frederick can return, though the first priority is Frederick's recovery and well-being. He has returned to meetings and made progress through an initial round of treatments for GBS.
But center depth isn't the only question mark on Dallas' decorated offensive line. All-Pro guard Zack Martin (hyperextended knee) has returned to practice and plans to play in the Sept. 9 opener, but free agent signing Marcus Martin, once thought to be a primary reserve, landed on injured reserve in training camp.
And Looney's backup, Dustin Stanton, was waived/injured this week with a knee injury suffered last Sunday against the Cardinals.
At safety, starter Xavier Woods' availability for the first couple weeks of the season is uncertain due a hamstring injury. Jones is optimistic Woods' backup, Kavon Frazier, will be ready for Week 1, but he separated his shoulder against the Cardinals and did not return to the game.
Hence, "the hunt for Red October."
"If we find something that makes sense, we want to improve our football team," Jones said. "It's ongoing. It won't be over just because the cuts are made on Saturday or the team's finished up (with roster moves) on Monday. It'll be ongoing."