FRISCO, Texas — It's almost time for all 32 NFL teams to begin making some of the toughest decisions they'll make all year. With only one preseason game remaining on the schedule, next week will feature the Dallas Cowboys and their 31 counterparts being forced to hack their 90-man roster down to a mandatory count of 53.
From there, they'll begin building their 16-man practice squad as well.
"I really like our group," said owner and general manager Jerry Jones on Wednesday, ahead of the first padded practice at The Star in Frisco. "We all know that the other teams that we're going to be playing have done some good things, too, out here and so we've talked about how good your team is, it's got to be in comparison to who your competition is but, relative to them, I feel great."
As it stands, the Cowboys have one of more the most talented groups in the entire league, and that will make things that much more challenging for the club, even with the unfortunate loss of rookies DeMarvion Overshown and John Stephens Jr. to season-ending injury — both suffering a torn ACL against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.
One position that feels already fleshed out for the Cowboys is running back, however, after seeing Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn all but solidify their roster spot behind Tony Pollard.
Malik Davis, a second-year talent who showed flashes as a rookie, will also have a matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend to try and boost his value; as will rookie fullback Hunter Luepke.
Don't expect Jones and the Cowboys to give up the farm to make a trade at the position.
"I look at every opportunity," Jones said before qualifying the comment. "We, obviously, if you look at all the free agents that are here, then you realize that you don't have the ability and resources to make that happen. So, you have to be judicious with your choice of what's best for you. The way our young backs are playing, and some of the good things they've done here [in camp and the preseason], I'm very comfortable with where we are with our backs right now.
"So, without getting into specifically, I think we saw some good things the other night. We've seen some good things in training camp. I feel good about our running back position if we didn't add anybody."
That, however, does not put Dallas out of consideration for possibly claiming a running back that hits the waiver wire late next week.
"Don't include us not adding anybody, because you've got [league-wide] roster] cuts and we certainly have not closed the running back position — as far as who might be available going forward."
It will be a very interesting next several days in Dallas and around the league, to say the least, but it appears the Cowboys are mostly set at every position of need entering the 2023 season.