At this stage of camp, especially knowing that Rob Ryan didn't have an entire summer to install this new defense, it's hard to gauge a depth chart just by the sight of practice.
So seeing Kenyon Coleman work with a first-team defense doesn't always mean he's now a starter. But seeing it now for two straight days, and Igor Olshansky work with the second-team, it's starting to suggest that Coleman is working his way into the rotation.
After Tuesday's practice, Jason Garrett was asked about Coleman being with the first-team and then followed up about Coleman's performance so far in camp. Obviously, Garrett focused on the second half of the question.
"Kenyon has done a nice job," Garrett said. "He's a guy that we liked a lot as a free agent and feel fortunate to get him. He's been a very good run defender in this league for a very long time playing in this scheme. Rob (Ryan) has been around him and he's been in this organization before. People knew him, like him as a player and he's a strong guy – a strong two-gap player. He does a nice job creating piles in there and can push the pocket as a pass rusher. He's getting more and more acclimated in what we're doing and he's been an excellent addition."
So if he's been an excellent addition, one might wonder if he's going to start. If so, Olshansky's spot on the roster doesn't seem so secure.
It's not like his contract is one where the Cowboys would really save a lot of cash off the cap. Olshansky is scheduled to make $3.35 million in base salary. If he's released, the club would save that base, but take a $1.2 million prorated cap charge hit. The Cowboys would also have a $2.4 million hit on next year's cap.
But it's more about depth. If Coleman is better and has to start, that makes Jason Hatcher and probably Sean Lissemore on the second-team. Lissemore has showed enough to probably make this roster.
We've been wondering about Olshansky's status and now seeing Coleman work his way into the first-team, it's starting to look like a strong possibility that he might not have the same role.