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Mailbag: Biggest Surprise From Roster Decisions?


In your opinion, what was the biggest surprise from roster cuts and where do you see the Cowboys still needing to add competition/depth? — JOE COOK / JACKSON, MS

Nick: I feel somewhat uneasy answering this just because of the nature of roster cuts right now - they're always changing. But what surprised me the most was Azur Kamara making the team. I just never really saw much from him to think he could make this team and be a factor. Other than being a great story on Hard Knocks, Kamara apparently has a role that intrigues the Cowboys for his special teams ability and maybe a hybrid role on defense. Again, if he ends up being moved off the roster for other reasons, I'd imagine he'll still be on the practice squad.

David: For me, the biggest surprise was probably the decision to keep Azur Kamara, simply because he's so raw. But I'm excited to see how he develops with a full season to play and develop. As for the second part of your question, I can't help but notice there are only two tight ends on the roster right now. How they handle the back end of that depth chart with their practice squad will be interesting to see.

Thinking back to some good backup quarterbacks the Cowboys had in the past, I'm asking how good were they really and how good does a backup need to be? — JACK JACKSON / TYLER, TX

Nick: I don't think it's that complicated. The best back up quarterbacks are the ones they figure out how to win. Obviously they know how to get themselves ready to play and they also know how to function just well enough to keep things going despite the fact that the starting quarterback is out. So I think of guys like Steve Beuerlein and Jason Garrett and John Kitna who were able to have some success when they had to play. I know I'm probably leaving a few guys out but I think it all comes down to making the most of the mental reps they get in practice and having an understanding of what they're trying to do on offense even though they might have limitations that the starting quarterback doesn't have.

David: That's a pretty subjective question, I think. It's hard to evaluate Andy Dalton's 2020, because he had to play much more than your average backup and understandably had his ups and downs because of the injuries around him. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton was one of the league's highest-paid backups during his two years as an insurance policy for Tony Romo, and he lost the only game he ever started. To me, the ideal backup is a guy who has a dozen or more starts under his belt, who also feels comfortable in his role of helping the starter prepare every week. To be fair to the Cowboys, those types of players are hard to find and aren't cheap. But it doesn't change the fact that their depth behind Dak is not inspiring.

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