IRVING, Texas – There are only about 48 hours left until the Cowboys have to trim their roster to 53 players. Even with that short amount of time, there are still a few roster spots up for grabs when the Broncos come into AT&T Stadium tonight.
Here are some battles I'll have my eye on.
- By all reports from practice this week, it was all systems "Go" for Henry Melton working back into the starting lineup on defense. Whether Melton plays against the Broncos will be a game-time call. There are some staff members that would like to see Melton get a series, but they are also mindful to prevent any setbacks that might arise. The staff was delighted in how well Melton was moving around and the quickness in which he was able to practice. They said he looked comfortable and confident that he was healthy. He was also anxious to renew his training camp battle with his rookie teammate Zack Martin, which was always an entertaining period of work.
- I will be watching closely to see how defensive ends Kenneth Boatright and Dartwan Bush play in this contest. When you start to work through who might and might not be on this defensive line on Sept. 7, these are two names that get thrown around the most in the personnel meetings. With the release of Martez Wilson earlier in the week, it opened a door to an opportunity to serve as that backup to Jeremy Mincey at right defensive end. I physically like the way Boatright looks with his rangy build. He looks more like an end in this scheme than Bush does. I could also see where these coaches play Boatright inside some as a nickel rusher. Where Bush has an advantage is in the way he is able to get off the ball. He really has a quick first step and that gets him on the blocker in a hurry. I have a feeling that only one of them will make the final roster. [embedded_ad]
- In my scouting report on Jemea Thomas, the rookie that was claimed from the New England Patriots. I wrote about his ability to line up at both safety and corner in the preseason games that I was able to study. Look for Thomas to play as a safety against the Broncos but possibly see some work at corner when the defensive coaches have the opportunity to work with him on the scheme. Thomas showed some nice traits in his ability to line up and play in coverage while he was with the Patriots and this staff hopes to take advantage of that.
- Stephen Jones said earlier in the week to the media that he thought going with just eight offensive linemen was just too light. As we began to work through training camp practices, I was starting to believe that eight was going to be the number right number to help offset the defense's injury woes. If the front office does in fact go with nine offensive linemen you have your five starters, plus Mackenzy Bernadeau, Jermey Parnell and Uche Nwaneri. With those names, you have your eight and that ninth spot will come down to Darrion Weems or John Wetzel. The problem for the front office is that they have invested two seasons in Weems but he has not been able to practice. Wetzel has been solid and a nice fit with this backup line. Where Wetzel is limited is that he doesn't have the athletic ability of Weems. Wetzel plays against the Broncos and Weems doesn't – keep an eye on that.