The preseason is over. The cuts are due on Saturday. Let's not waste any more time.
This is my personal 53-man roster projection. It's definitely not anything official so please don't mistake this for your new Dallas Cowboys. The roster won't be pared down officially until Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. (CDT). Until then, it's always fun to project.
So here would be my 53-man roster going into the regular-season opener.
QB (3) – Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee Summary: This was the easiest position to cut down. Tom Brandstater never had a legitimate chance to make the team. McGee enters the season with plenty of reps and we saw what Kitna did last year, but obviously this team needs a healthy Romo to resurrect this team and return to the playoffs.
RB (5) – Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner, Shaun Chapas
Summary – Still think they need Choice on the roster. If Jones goes down, you've got a veteran to handle the load instead of two rookies. I went with Chapas at fullback because I think that will be the eventual lineup. But if Martellus Bennett is out for Week One, Jason Pociask might be a better short-term solution.
WR (5) – Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley, Dwayne Harris Summary – Unfortunately for Raymond Radway, this decision isn't a tough one anymore. Keeping six would've been tough but the Cowboys would've had to do something to keep Radway.
TE (3) – Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips Summary – This is how they went in 2009 and wanted it this way last year. Easy call here.
OL (9) – Doug Free, Kyle Kosier, Phil Costa, Bill Nagy, Tyron Smith, Montrae Holland, David Arkin, Kevin Kowalski, Jermey Parnell Summary – I'm not sure the swing tackle is one the roster, but if he is, it'd be Parnell who has outplayed Sam Young. Not sure how you can cut Kowalski, who looks like a good young prospect.
DL (7) – Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, Igor Olshansky, Sean Lissemore, Josh Brent Summary – This one was tough and I'm not sure you need seven players for a position that has just three starters. The odd man out would be Olshansky. But with Spears' groin injury, something tells me Olshansky sticks around.
LB (8) – DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Bradie James, Sean Lee, Keith Brooking, Victor Butler, Kenwin Cummings, Alex Albright Summary – the only real surprise here is Albright over Brandon Williams. But how is that a surprise considering Williams hasn't done much. Cummings sticks around for special teams but the Cowboys will have to make room for Bruce Carter when he comes off NFI in mid-season.
DB (9) – Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Abram Elam, Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball, Barry Church, Danny McCray, Bryan McCann Summary – Cutting draft picks isn't easy, especially a fifth-rounder like Josh Thomas. You might think the Cowboys keep an extra CB considering Newman is iffy for the game and neither of the starters have played a snap. But Thomas wouldn't be available since he's hurt as well. The big cut on my list is Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a fourth-round pick last year who simply hasn't done enough.
ST (4) - David Buehler, Dan Bailey, Mat McBriar, L.P. Ladouceur Summary – This is one people seem to care about the most. And why wouldn't they? The kicker spot is completely unsettled. I think I'll go with Buehler and Bailey, and mainly for contract reasons. If you keep either Dave Rayner or Shayne Graham on the roster, then their salaries are guaranteed all year. By keeping Bailey, who has been pretty good in the games, he starts the season and if he struggles, you can either go to Buehler, or sign one of these vets.
Well, there's my 53. Remember, it's just an opinion and certainly not what the Cowboys will turn in by Saturday afternoon. But if the job were mine, this is what I would send over . . . reluctantly of course.