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Projecting the Dallas Cowboys Final 53-Man Roster

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Cowboys Blog - Projecting the Dallas Cowboys Final 53-Man Roster 4

We are 124 days from the Cowboys opening game against that team from New York. It’s safe to say we know for sure about 40 something players that will be in Cowboys roster, but who will fill out the final 53 is really a guessing game at this point.  And I like games. So here is a (very early) projection of the Cowboys final roster for week 1.

Quarterbacks (2)

Tony Romo – Kyle Orton

No surprise here really. There was thought that Dallas could have used one of their picks on a developmental QB, but since they didn’t, Dallas will carry two QBs. Nick Stephens and UDFA Dalton Williams will take some snaps early on in training camp, but best case scenario is one of them sticks around on the practice squad.

Running Backs (4)

DeMarco Murray – Joseph Randle – Lance Dunbar – Lawrence Vickers

I’m not sure that Lawrence Vickers makes the final roster, but for now he’s here. Dallas doesn’t really have a blocking RB and Vickers will get to prove the chance that he’s healthy and can improve over last season. A guy I don’t see making the team is Phillip Tanner. Tanner never really wowed the coaches when giving the opportunity, and to be honest doesn’t bring anything to the table that Dunbar or Randle cant. UDFA Kendial Lawrence (Rockwell Heath) could be a sleeper if the Cowboys chose to carry 4 RBs

Wide Receivers (6)

Dez Bryant – Miles Austin – Terrance Williams – Dwayne Harris – Cole Beasley – Danny Coale

The first four on this list are set. The only question is who wins the number three WR spot between Williams and Harris. I feel that the coaches really liked what Beasley showed last season and healthy Danny Coale will turn a lot of heads this summer. Plus, with Mile Austin’s track record on injuries lately, carrying six WRs isn’t out of the question.

Tight Ends (3)

Jason Witten – Gavin Escobar – James Hannah

I don’t see a situation (barring injury) that this list will be any different. Andre Smith and Colin Cochart are nothing more than camp bodies/Practice Squad material and most likely won’t beat out Hannah.

Offensive Line (10)

Tyron Smith – Nate Livings – Travis Frederick – Mackenzy Bernadeau – Doug Free – Jeremy Parnell – Phil Costa – David Arkin – Ronald Leary – Darrion Weems

It’s very possible that instead of Doug Free’s name, you will see Eric Winston’s when it’s all said it done. That looks like it’s up to Free. I was hesitant to put 10 OL here, but outside of Tyron Smith there isn’t a sure thing on that line. The man thing to watch is seeing how the interior of the line shakes out. Does first round pick Travis Frederick stay at C, or kick inside to OG allowing Phil Costa to start?

Defensive Line (8)

DeMarcus Ware – Jason Hatcher – Jay Ratliff – Anthony Spencer – Tyrone Crawford – Kyle Wilber – Sean Lissemore – Rob Callaway

There really isn’t much if a surprised here, but there should be a heated battle for the last spot on the defensive line. Ben Bass was a training camp surprise, and the Cowboys brought in former second round pick Brian Price to compete at DT. I like Callaway the most and he should be one of the last guys to make the final 53.

Linebackers (7)

Sean Lee – Bruce Carter – Justin Durant – DeVonte Holloman – Caleb McSurdy – Alex Albright – Brandon Magee

This position will really come down to who makes it on the special teams unit. The first three guys on this list are a lock, and Dallas really liked the play of Albright last season. There is a reason Brandon Magee received the amount of guaranteed money ($70,000) he did, he can play both Strong and Weakside linebacker and should make his mark on Special Teams.

Cornerbacks (5)

Brandon Carr – Morris Claiborne – Orlando Scandrick – BW Webb – Sterling Moore

The Cowboys were decimated by injuries last season at the corner position, that’s one reason why i’m going with a high number for now. Moore’s ability to play some Safety keeps him on this roster for now. Don’t sleep on Brandon Underwood on making the roster either.

Safeties (5)

Barry Church – Matt Johnson – Will Allen – JJ Wilcox – Danny McCray

I think a total of 10 secondary players might be a bit too much, but frankly we don’t know what we will get with Barry Church and Matt Johnson. If they come in healthy and show that they can play at a high level, this number may be reduced by one. That will put Danny McCray on the hot seat, but he stays on now for his Special Teams play. The real question is who wins the FS spot. It should be a heated three way battle between Allen, Johnson, and rookie JJ Wilcox.

Special Teams (3)

Dan Bailey – Chris Kluwe – L.P. Ladoucer

Chris Kluwe? Ok this might not happen, but Chris Jones did have offseason knee surgery, and the Cowboys could bring in a veteran punter like Kluwe for competition.

Practice Squad

WR Tim Benford

WR Carlton Mitchell

RB Kendial Lawrence

QB Dalton Williams

OL Ray Dominguez

DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun

LB Cam Lawrence

S Jakar Hamilton

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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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