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Questioning The Dallas Cowboys Final 53 Man Roster

Brian Martin

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- Auto Draft

The Dallas Cowboys announced their 53 man roster a few days ago and to be completely honest they made some head scratching moves, at least to the people outside the organization.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with all of you some of the questions I have in regards to the Cowboys roster and what I would do to help provide depth from top to bottom.

I personally found it a little strange some of the positions they decided to go long at, especially considering it caused them to go short at positions that were already worrisome to begin with.

Below are three questions and solutions I have regarding the Cowboys 53 man roster as it stands now.

How many running backs is too many?

Cowboys Headlines - Questioning The Dallas Cowboys Final 53 Man RosterWe all knew that it would be difficult for the Dallas Cowboys to decide which running backs would make the final 53 man roster, but I don't think anyone would've predicted that they keep six total RBs.

It's almost as if they couldn't decide who stays and who goes, so they chose not to make a decision at all.

Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Darius Jackson, and Lance Dunbar all look good on paper, but how the coaching staff is going to determine individual roles for each player is completely mind-boggling.

To make matters even more confusing, the Cowboys decided to keep two fullbacks as well.

The Dallas Cowboys only use a fullback occasionally as it is, so to keep two of them means your sacrificing depth at another position.

It's really going to be interesting to see how the coaching staff handles the RBs for the Week 1 match up against the New York Giants. Maybe then we can get some answers.

My solution: Cut both Rod and Keith Smith, which would free up two roster spots and give Geoff Swaim a new offensive role.

Is there safety in numbers?

Cowboys Headlines - Questioning The Dallas Cowboys Final 53 Man Roster 1Minds were blown when the Dallas Cowboys announced the roster cuts and safety JJ Wilcox was not among them.

For years now fans have been calling for Wilcox to get the ax, but for some reason the Cowboys decided to keep five safeties, which saved Wilcox's job for now.

We all know that Byron Jones and Barry Church are penciled in as the starters, with Jeff Heath as the reserve after signing a new long-term contract.

It was thought that the Cowboys would just keep four safeties, with rookie Kavon Frazier claiming that last spot based on his performance in the preseason. That simply wasn't the case, but again the decision to go a little long at the safety position means you have to go a little short somewhere else.

The Cowboys must want Wilcox around mainly for special teams, because he has yet to develop as a reliable safety. He may however be on a short leash if the Cowboys decided to add another player and need a roster spot.

My solution: Keep Wilcox for now, but if depth is needed at a different position (defensive end), then cut #27 and use his vacated roster spot.

Defensive end depth or lack thereof

Cowboys Headlines - Questioning The Dallas Cowboys Final 53 Man Roster 2Probably the biggest surprise when the Dallas Cowboys announced their 53 man roster was the lack of depth at the defensive end position.

I'm sure all eyes will be on who the bookends are on the defensive line when they square off against the New York Giants Week 1. Nobody really knows who is going to start it DE or the Cowboys.

David Irving has shown a little promise in the preseason and it looks as if Jack Crawford will be in that DE rotation somewhere. Then you have the unknown in Benson Mayowa. He played a little bit against the Seahawks, but not really enough to gauge the type of player he is.

I almost completely forgot about Charles Tapper. That's because he has been sidelined with a back injury that we have just found out was more serious than believed. Supposedly he has a small fracture that he's lived with for a while now.

Who knows when or if he will be available?

It's no secret that the Cowboys need depth at DE. That's why it was a little surprising they didn't bring in anybody through waivers.

My solution: If you been paying attention, I freed up two, possibly three roster spots by releasing Rod Smith, Keith Smith, and possibly JJ Wilcox.

I would use those three roster spots to bring in some defensive end depth by poaching Tyrone Holmes from the Cleveland Browns practice squad and sign veteran free agent Ryan Davis. That would give the Cowboys a young developmental player in Holmes and a veteran DE in Davis.

I know that would personally make me feel a lot better about the depth at defensive end.

Do you agree or disagree?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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8 Comments
  • Ethan Chazin

    Supposedly Wilcox is a ST player and Bisaccia may have lobbied to keep him. the 2 FBs serve other roles as ST players, pitch in LB and possible pass catching RB? I am not sold on this flawed logic, and it now confirms my worst assumptions of this ownership and coaching staff. They don’t get it after 20 years of failure. No wonder Bill Parcells walked away.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      Well, to be fair, Bill Parcells hasn’t coached since. But yeah, I generally agree.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Ethan. I tend to agree with what you said about the fullbacks. I understand that they serve other roles, but I just think there were probably better ways to use those roster spots. The defense is so thin at defensive end it’s ridiculous. Geoff Swaim played TE/FB in college at UT and I think he could serve the same type of role with the Cowboys. Then you can find some defensive ends that can contribute on special teams and add much-needed depth at the position.

  • Dru

    Def agree. For some reason always wanted to hold onto Wilcox..I’m over that now. Put swaim in the h back role until Hanna returns. I think Hanna has the perfect skill set and size to fit that role. Would love to add those two def ends.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Dru. I really think those roster moves provide better depth from top to bottom on the roster. The Cowboys are dangerously thin at the DE position. They can’t afford to have anybody get injured. And I love the idea of using Swaim as a TE/FB. He filled that role in college at UT and did a pretty good job.

  • Victor Dowell

    Cowboys need 2 bring in a stud at DE,putting presure on the opposing team is a major concern,bite the bullet Jerry Jones bring back Greg Hardy,you can get him on the cheap.”Defense Win Champonships”,Take a page from Jimmy Johnson,as long as you can sack the quarterback,winning will my the haters silient.LoveThemCowboys.

    • Brian Martin

      Victor, there is a reason why Greg Hardy is still unemployed. I think there was a lot more going on behind the scenes then we realized last year with the Cowboys. I think he pretty much burned all of his bridges with the organization and maybe with the rest of the NFL as well. I know it’s kind of hard for us fans to accept, but even though Greg Hardy would immediately improve the pass rush, I think I can say with 100% certainty he will never wear a star on his helmet again.

  • Kevin Cochran

    I agree 100% they need more help on defense very uncomfortable about this first game I also propose putting Gathers at defensive end

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.



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Dallas Cowboys

4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator

Shane Carter

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Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan

The big word around the Dallas Cowboys lately is about Jason Garrett and the future of the head coaching job. Some have speculated that either Quarterback Dak Prescott or Jason Garrett will get axed, and the other will stay.

Owner Jerry Jones was quoted on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas about his young quarterback, putting to bed at least half of the conflict.

"Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young and he’s going to get extended."

This shut the door on the idea of Prescott being replaced.

As far as Jason Garrett? Jerry Jones has been less than committed.

"I’m not in the business of backing anybody; the head coach, or offensive coordinator, I just don’t back them publicly." Jerry Jones said.

So it seems that Jason Garrett’s future is up in the air.

But what about offensive coordinator Scott Linehan? What’s held the Cowboys back this year has been the offense, and a lot of it can be contributed to their predictable play calling and inability to adapt to today’s game and its current players.

Whether or not Jason Garrett retains his job, Scott Linehan’s job doesn’t seem near as secure. His scheme doesn’t really mesh with Dak Prescott and how the offense could look. There’s only so many times you can run a three tight end set and not get furious.

Cowboys fans may want Garrett gone but they might have to settle for a new offensive coordinator instead.

The good news is that there are many options out there. Options that not only could work well with Dak Prescott, but could bring the Cowboys offense into the 2010s.

Shane Waldron

Jerry Jones once said how the Cowboys offense was like the LA Rams. If they are able to sign their Co-Offensive Coordinator, then they could be.

When Matt LaFleur left to become the Tennessee Titans OC, the job became a shared job between Waldron and Aaron Kromer. I wonder if Waldron would rather have the job all to himself?

What makes Waldron so appealing is he is also the Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator. Those are two areas where the Rams excel and where the Cowboys need help.

Teams are going to start copying the offensive juggernauts of the NFL and the Rams are definitely one of them. The Cowboys should do themselves a favor and get out in front before other teams beat them to it.

Scott Turner

Cam Newton is having one of his best seasons. Not only is he an MVP candidate but he’s set to have career highs in completion percentage and QBR, as well as a career low in interceptions. Cam Newton is a very talented quarterback but some of this has to be attributed to his new Quarterback Coach, Scott Turner.

The son of Norv Turner, Scott has seemingly helped mold Cam into a more accurate passer without compromising who Cam Newton is as an athletic quarterback. That has Dak Prescott written all over it.

He's got NFL lineage and a new, scary Cam Newton to add to his resume. He may not have as impressive a track record as others on here but he looks like he could be a chip off the old block and get the Cowboys where they need to be going.

Lincoln Riley

A popular head coach candidate, Lincoln Riley has shown his creativity and offensive innovation during his short time as Oklahoma’s head coach. It’s uncertain if he’ll get any real offers to be a head coach, but as an OC, he would be a serious grab.

Everyone has seen the work he’s done with Baker Mayfield and now Kyler Murray. How he’s able to incorporate different formations to open up the pass game and have the run game seem unstoppable. Just imagine what he could do with the weapons he would have at his disposal in Dallas.

It's likely that Lincoln Riley is a hot commodity for a head coach position, especially in Cleveland where he could reunite with Baker Mayfield. That shouldn’t stop the Cowboys from trying to lure him to Dallas, though. Lincoln Riley could be the real missing piece that Dallas has been looking for.

Eric Bieniemy

Another product of Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. The former running backs coach has the experience under Andy Reid on not only how to run an offense but to use your weapons at your disposal to the fullest.

Maybe I’m over-hyping this man but when you see the work he helped put in with Pat Mahomes and how he uses those weapons around him, it makes me imagine what he can do for the Cowboy offense.

The team has no shortage of weapons and could benefit greatly from a guy like this.

If the Chiefs make it past their first playoff game, Bieniemy could become a more attractive name when it comes time for new head coaches. However, if Jerry Jones comes calling and the right offer is met, who’s to say?

If Kris Richard can be lured from Seattle to fix the Cowboys defense, Eric Bieniemy can be lured from Kansas City to fix the Cowboys offense.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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