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Mailbag: Benefits Of Joint Practices? WR Depth?


In looking at the stature and versatility of the receivers signed this offseason, do you get a sense that the hope is to carry six wide receivers instead of seven on the active roster to open another spot, for an O-Lineman or linebacker for instance? — SEAN GAUTIER / LYNN HAVEN, FL

David: I think I'd be pretty surprised to see them keep seven receivers. But to your point, the versatility of the guys on the roster could prompt them to go with five, instead of six. CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert can all play three positions, so that could be one way they keep the number smaller. But it is worth remembering that Gallup could start the season on the PUP list, so they might want to keep extra bodies around to account for that. Ultimately, I still think they'll keep six, but it is an interesting thought.

Nick: I think six might be a little high, so I definitely think seven is too much. Then again, it's easy to say that now but all it takes is a few of these young receivers to shine enough that the Cowboys are forced to keep them. If that happens, then of course, they can go with seven. But only CeeDee, Gallup and Jalen Tolbert are really guaranteed to make the team. Anyone else is subject to being replaced if they're just not good enough. But Gallup might not even count towards the roster in Week 1 if he's still rehabbing. My guess is James Washington also makes it and then two other young guys make it and perhaps a veteran is added from the outside, especially if they have special teams experience. And speaking of that, there really isn't a true punt returner on this team. Maybe that's a receiver that gets added at some point.

Judging from last year's practice against the Rams, and now this year's schedule with the Chargers and Broncos, it seems obvious that Mike McCarthy values having a chance to work against another team during training camp. What's the benefit, or maybe even the drawback, of this? — DARREN W. / FRESNO, CA

David: I was incredibly impressed by the way the Cowboys and Rams managed to keep things mostly professional and free from any fights or extracurriculars last year. If you can promise me it's not going to get violent, I think it's a great opportunity to challenge your roster against someone you're unfamiliar with. The drawback, for me, has always been the risk of getting someone hurt in a fight, because we've seen some bad ones over the years. But if you can keep that aspect of it in check, I think it's an invaluable opportunity – especially for young guys, who need all the experience in competitive situations they can get.

Nick: The benefit is to see where you stack up against another team – plain and simple. Sometimes in camp we see offensive tackles block everyone in front of them but come to find out, they don't have great pass rushers. You don't always know how good your team is if they're not getting tested all the time – or it could be the other way around. As long as the two teams are productive and don't sit there and fight with each other every other play, then it's a good thing. But if it's one of those deals where the two teams can't get any work done because they can't stop fighting then it's not worth it. I remember a big fight in Denver where helmets were flying around. I also remember going to San Diego against the Chargers and there were several altercations. It happens every time, but if the teams can keep it at a minimum, then it's worth it.

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