Scout's Notebook: Taking An Educated Guess At The Cowboys' Final Roster

ARLINGTON, Texas – We're done with the final game action we'll see before the Cowboys line up against the Giants on Sept. 11.

That's an exciting thought, but it's also about to be a delicate decision-making process for this organization. More importantly than that, it's about to be an agonizing wait for a lot of players who have poured their hearts and souls into this team for the last six months.

Once the roster is finalized, we'll have plenty of analysis of what's to come. While we wait, I've got a few notes about what I saw on Thursday – and what I think the final 53 might look like.

  • We will know soon whether Tony Romo will be listed as the third quarterback on this team each week, or whether he will be placed on injured reserve with a chance to return. What I do know is that the Cowboys need to find a quarterback to play behind Dak Prescott -- whether that guy is a veteran or not. I believe their plan is to try and grab a guy with game experience, but that could eliminate several options off the waiver wire. My plan would to be to grab the best guy regardless of experience with the hope that he is better than Jameill Showers.
  • I had J.J. Wilcox off this roster come cutdown day, but I am not so sure I can do that now.  Kavon Frazier has shown me that when put in coverage situations, he can handle that job. But when it comes to tackling, he can miss just as easily as Wilcox and that's not good. Frazier is younger, cheaper and a draft pick, which all works in his favor when talking about his spot on this roster. I was looking for Kavon Frazier to wrap this job up with his extensive play, but he wasn't as good as he needed to be and that bothers me.
  • I am carrying five receivers on my final roster and Lucky Whitehead was the only member of that group to play against Houston. As a group, I thought Thursday's receivers did a poor job of winning routes on the outside and it showed in the final numbers in the passing game. Texans cornerback Robert Nelson looked like an All-Pro covering this group.
  • Anthony Brown looks like a real player. His pick-six against Brandon Weeden was all him. Brown bluffed Weeden into that throw by showing blitz pre-snap, then undercutting the route on the out. Brown showed up plenty on the physical side of the game as well with several tackles in space.
  • Keith Smith was another one of those players that I had on my final roster but didn't play as well as he had in previous games. Where I wanted to study Smith in this game was not as the special teamer but as a fullback. It appeared that the coaches were thinking the same thing by putting him in the formation on several snaps. I thought there was more miss than hit with him. Tonight was the first time where he didn't look as natural for the position.
  • I lost count of how many times Brad Sham called Deon King's name for a tackle during the broadcast. King was all over the field and deserves a ton of credit for the way he played. It wasn't easy because he was dealing with blockers in his face the entire night and he was able to somehow play off those blocks and finish.
  • Rodney Coe played the majority of the game and despite some not-so-good moments, I thought he hung in there well. Coe will likely not make the final roster, but I thought there were several plays where he managed to stay square along the line and keep those Texan blockers from moving him out of the hole. Where Coe hasn't been as good as he was in college is with his quickness up the field as a pass rusher. The power is there but that's really all he has. Hopefully he can return on the practice squad.
  • Joe Looney played some guard against the Texans, which is something I had been waiting for. What I am learning about his game is that he can handle those swing center/guard responsibilities, but if you forced me to tell you his best position, I would say it is when he plays center. He's better when he can take a man in a short area than when he has to get up on the second level. Look for Looney to be the backup center with Ronald Leary remaining on the roster to be the backup guard.
  • If Lawrence Okoye ever learns to bend his knees and play lower in his base -- you might have a player. His strength is impressive and you see it quite a bit, both against the run and pass, but he just doesn't play low enough. Okoye is one of those guys that I am going to release Saturday and just hope that he makes it back to the practice squad. It's hard to find good, young offensive and defensive linemen to develop and he fits that criteria.
  • Rico Gathers made two straight plays in the fourth quarter where he finally looked like an NFL player. He is just so raw it's hard to hold a spot for him. His size, balance and athletic ability are impressive. The coaches have been very patient with him, but there is still just so much ground to cover with him before he could help you.
  • Charles Tapper. I wish I knew if you could play before I put you on this final roster, but I guess I really don't have much choice.
  • Thanks to everyone that was so nice to me while I was doing the radio broadcasts with Brad Sham and the Dallas Cowboys Radio Crew. The comments and best wishes were much appreciated. It's a tremendous honor for this kid from Dallas, Texas to be in that radio booth.


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