special teams reasons. Or, it comes down to watching the waiver wire. Very interesting.
Defensive Line: At this point, and it seems Sean Lissemore showing he can play a little defensive end and a little nose has made the team, it's Jay Ratliff, Josh Brent, Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher and Lissemore. So the decision for the sixth and seventh spots comes down to Kenyon Coleman, Igor Olshansky and Clifton Geathers. And since Coleman had been starting in Spears' absence before Hatcher was injured, do you keep a raw second-year player or an eighth-year veteran? Remember, youth has been getting served.
Linebacker: Unless there is a surprise or two, this should come down to keeping either third-year outside 'backer Brandon Williams or rookie free agent Alex Albright. And if you disregard Williams' fourth-round draft status of 2009, then Albright makes the team. He has been productive, although went undrafted likely because of previous neck injuries while at Boston College. Williams has been invisible. Now they could go long, keeping nine, which they have done in the past here because of special teams capabilities.
Secondary: The guys have made choosing the top four corners and safeties pretty easy. Ah, but the fifth? Or is there a fifth? That's the question. The final safety spot should come down to either last year's fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah or Andrew Sendejo. The final cornerback position, if there are just five, should come down to either Bryan McCann, fifth-round pick Josh Thomas or rookie free agent Mario Butler. Seems like a close call. Seems like they keep an eye on the waiver wire, too, and at both spots.
Offensive Line: This is critical – backup offensive tackle. Get the feeling there might be some partiality toward Jermey Parnell since he's 6-6, 307, of long arms and raw since his one year of football at Ole Miss was spent on the defensive line after playing basketball. But seriously, is he really ready to come in for an injured tackle next Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in the season opener? We saw what happened when Alex Barron got that call in last year's season opener. Cost the Cowboys a game, and things rapidly went downhill the first half of the season after that. No way does Sam Young seem ready, either. And none of the backup interior linemen seem capable of playing tackle, although fourth-round pick David Arkin did last year at Missouri State. Can you say, "Eye on the waiver wire?"
Fullback/Tight End: This is a loaded subject, weighed down further by Martellus Bennett being out with a high ankle sprain at least another two to three weeks. The Cowboys run a lot of two-tight sets. So would they feel comfortable with only two available tight ends the first few weeks of the season, and one of those, John Phillips, having missed all of last year after tearing his ACL? Do they keep Martin Rucker, meaning four tight ends, and maybe no fullbacks? Are any of the fullbacks worth keeping? There is one school of thought that converted tight end Jason Pociask makes the team, someone who can play a little fullback and a little tight end, but probably not well enough at either to make the team on the merit of one position. The decision here will impact numbers at running back, offensive line, linebacker and secondary.
See, there definitely are some head-scratchers, especially when factoring in if guys they like, but not enough to place on the 53-man roster, can squeeze through waivers and get signed onto the practice squad.
"There will be a lot of talk on who we keep on the 53," Garrett said.
A lot of talk for sure, especially since many of these decisions are irrevocable.