Congratulations. It’s football season. We made it.
We’ve begun Game Week here at Inside The Star, and we’re thrilled that you’re a part of it. Consider this a collective group hug. Hands in, let’s go “4” on three.
1… 2… 3…
4 means Dak Prescott which means great football things. Our star QuarterDAK is one of 53 gentlemen who are a part of the 2016 Dallas Cowboys, but there are an additional 10 who are also a part of the club.
The Cowboys have been making changes to their roster since 53-Man Rosters were due last Saturday. On Sunday they signed seven players to their practice squad, and will likely add more in the next few days:
The Cowboys Practice Squad is built similarly to their actual team… a strong emphasis on offense and a sprinkle of defense out of necessity.
Jake Brendel is a fine player, but as this team boasts the best offensive line in the NFL (the “Space Cowboys” as I call them) he is unlikely to ever seriously contribute. Ryan Russell has a shot considering this team’s
embarrassingly low lack of depth at the position. I mean, if I showed up at The Star tomorrow and said I was a pass rusher… I’d have to at least get a shot, right? We’re that in need.
Deon King captured a lot of Cowboys Nation loyalists with his outstanding preseason, and while the Linebacker depth isn’t necessarily great it’s a few ticks better than the pass rush which means we can relax in that regard.
What really caught my eye in terms of this squad was that there are two tight ends AND receivers? Why’s that? I’m glad you asked!
Andy Jones And Vince Mayle
Here’s a fact that is going to be relevant six months from now that we should discuss – both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler are entering contract years. Hey-O.
Why is that important? These are receivers of upper-echelon talent, and as teams are always looking for those it is unlikely that Dallas will retain both come the 2017 Offseason (Week 1 of 2016 and I’m talking 2017 Offseason… Apologies!). Brice Butler or Terrance Williams… one will be a Cowboy after this season and one will not. Who will replace the one that isn’t? Andy or Vince!
The Cowboys are clearly trying to retain depth as they prepare for any and all circumstances down the line. Both of the receivers they’ve stashed on the Practice Squad were players that people loved all Training Camp and Preseason… they’ll get their serious shot next year.
Rico Gathers And Austin Traylor
Do you know who else is entering the last year of their contract with the Dallas Cowboys? You probably don’t since the Coaching Staff refuses to use him – Gavin Escobar. Womp womp.
Escobar is one of many Tight Ends who have had their individual talents left on the bench while Jason Witten refuses to age or slow down. Come next season the same will ring true and he’ll likely be looking for work elsewhere (For what it’s worth he’ll probably find it and excel.).
The Cowboys are also showing that they’re preparing for this with their Practice Squad additions. We all raised our eyebrows in April when they drafted Baylor’s Rico Gathers, who then had zero college football experience, and they seem to like how he’s progressed. Come 2017 the Cowboys will have Witten, newly re-signed James Hanna (who’s injured now and actually leaves room for Traylor to play this season), and Geoff Swaim for sure. At that point they’ll call up Rico Gathers or Austin Traylor and all will continue as it has over Jason Witten’s career.
With the Cowboys playing a game that actually counts on Sunday it makes complete and total sense for that to be the primary focus. What’s interesting is that if we read into some of the moves that they’ve made, it seems like we can discern their intentions farther down the road (assuming none of their Practice Squad players are poached by other teams). The good news is that we have a whole season of Cowboys football between now and then when we find out for real.