FRISCO, Texas– Tuesday served as the final practice day of the preseason.
The Cowboys went through their normal routine and made their first wave of roster cuts. Tomorrow is an off day, as is Friday – with the obvious Houston game in between them. After the game come the final cuts, and before we know it we'll be into the swing of the regular season.
In a manner of speaking, this was the final day of training camp. So with that in mind, here are a few notes on what I'll be watching the rest of the week.
- I expect to see Jameill Showers start and play the entire contest against the Houston Texans. This will be his final opportunity to show the coaches and front office his abilities in a game setting. For Showers, it is likely a little too late -- which is unfortunate after showing promise during the OTAs and minicamps earlier. Whether it was his own doing or those around him, he could never build on that momentum. Back when Tony Romo was healthy, the whispers around The Star were the club was considering just going with Romo and Dak Prescott as the two quarterbacks on the roster. The big picture plan for Showers is to get him to the practice squad if not claimed. If that is the case, the front office has to be careful that Showers doesn't decide to go to another club and work on their practice squad feeling he has no chance here – that has happened before.
- Something to think about with this roster is, with the suspensions to DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, there is a good possibility of adding a player or two at defensive end. Another route that the front office might go is using Kyle Wilber more at end. Wilber has always shown a sneaky ability to rush the passer. I don't see these coaches playing him down after down or for long stretches in a game, but as a spot rusher in nickel situations he could be a prospect.
- If Wilber does see more time at defensive end, that means that he will most likely see fewer snaps at linebacker. Justin Durant appears to be the best candidate to take over on the strong side. The staff has increased his time on the practice field in order to get him ready for the season. Durant has shown the ability to play all three of the linebacker positions and with his experience it just makes sense in my opinion to have him starting for Wilber in this case.
- I am not sure how this is going to work out, but there are some in the organization who believe both Rod Smith and Keith Smith could make this final roster. I have Keith Smith in my final group, but I do not have Rod Smith. In my opinion, Keith Smith has shown up better as a blocker, runner and receiver -- plus what he has been able to do on special teams to take that spot. It appears that Rod Smith is a favorite of the coaching staff and they're not interested in parting ways with him at this point. If this is the case, guys like Austin Traylor and Darius Jackson could be in trouble.
- Teams had to meet the roster limit of 75 on Tuesday. The league will gather all the names and get them back to the teams roughly three to four hours after that. At that point, the teams can put claims in for players. The league will award the players claimed by the teams after a 24-hour period. If a club is awarded a player – they will be required at that time to release a player off their 75 man roster in exchange for the player they claimed. This procedure will also take place on Sept. 3, when the clubs reduce their rosters to 53. There is no limit to the number of players you can claim, but in the case of multiple claims, the league requires that they list those players in priority order to help distribute the players.
A look at some of our favorite photos from practice at The Star on Tuesday, August 30.