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Roster projection: More than a few unknowns in store for Dallas

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Cowboys Blog - Roster projection: More than a few unknowns in store for Dallas

My last installation of the Cowboys final 53 was a look of who makes the team without Special Teams consideration. This iteration takes a step back into reality. The first reality that should be considered is that the Cowboys will be taking a very hard look at the waiver wire when teams across the league make their final cuts.

The positions the Cowboys are likely looking to address – based on what we have seen so far in preseason, the injuries that have racked up, and of course, the impending suspension of Orlando Scandrick – are as follows: Full Back, Tight End, Defensive End, Linebacker, and Corner.

I would not be the least bit surprised to see a new face at any of these positions – if not all – when the final 53 is announced.

Offense:

Quarterback

With Scandrick not being considered a part of the 53 while serving his suspension, there is still room to carry Dustin. Once Scandrick is added back to the roster the Cowboys will have to decide who adds more value to the team as a whole; a 3rd QB or depth at Defensive End. Given Romo’s questionable back situation, it may be in the Cowboys best interest to ensure Weeden’s backup is already on the roster, as opposed to scraping the bottom of the barrel should the worst-case-scenario become reality.

Wide Receiver

One of the most talented groups of players on the team, some very difficult cuts will be made here. Jamar Newsome likely deserves a spot on this team, but it will be difficult for the Cowboys to keep more than 6 wide receivers, all things considered. An idea I have been kicking around that is plausible is the potential of a trade from this group to fortify another position to avoid having to gamble on the waiver wire if they can find a willing trade partner looking to do the same.

Tight End

  • Jason Witten
  • Gavin Escobar
  • James Hanna

If the Cowboys only keep 3 running backs and drop both fullbacks, this position will likely receive a blocking-type Tight End from the waiver wire.

Running Back

  • DeMarco Murray
  • Lance Dunbar
  • Ryan Williams
  • Joseph Randle

Given the best 53 approach, the Cowboys may drop the full back idea all together in favor of keeping both Ryan Williams – the better runner – and Joseph Randle – the better Special Teams contributor. However, last-minute moves to the waiver wire could spell the end for one. It has long been my opinion that should Murray be injured, Lance Dunbar would still be the change of pace back and either Williams or Randle would take the lead back role. With that in mind, Williams has done more to win the coaching staffs confidence in being a workhorse, between-the-tackles type of runner. Randle has some shiftiness to his game and can find the hole, but he doesn’t have the same explosion as Williams.

Full Back

  • none / waiver wire

Tyler Clutts has disappointed thus far in establishing himself as a lead blocker coming out of the backfield. Having said that, Linehan wants a fullback in this offense, which is why if the Cowboys do keep one, it very well may be someone presently sitting on another team roster.

Tackle

Guard

  • Zack Martin
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau
  • Ronald Leary
  • Uche Nwaneri

Center

No changes at any position on the offensive line. If the Cowboys keep more than 8, then it’s a battle between Darrion Weems and John Wetzel.

 

Defense:

Defensive End

  • DeMarcus Lawrence
  • George Selvie
  • Anthony Spencer
  • Jeremy Mincey
  • Tyrone Crawford
  • Kenneth Boatright

With both Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence starting the season on the injury list, the Cowboys will definitely be watching the August 30th waiver wire with their fingers crossed to address the defensive line. Wilson was already cut, freeing up a spot for a new face come next week.

Defensive Tackle

  • Henry Melton
  • Terrell McClain
  • Davon Coleman
  • Nick Hayden

Given the nod to start against the Dolphins, Davon Coleman may have already solidified his place in the rotation that Marinelli has planned to throw at opposing offenses. Zach Minter also saw some time in the first half, however, given the issues the Cowboys are having with injuries at defensive end, it’s difficult to imagine the Cowboys keeping more than four Defensive Tackles.

Linebackers

If the Cowboys are able to move a receiver, as opposed to cutting to avoid competing on the waiver wire, due to the loss of Holloman this is likely the position they will be looking to address. I doubt the Cowboys go with only five linebackers into the regular season; but in my opinion the 6th linebacker is not yet on the team.

Cornerbacks

  • Brandon Carr
  • Morris Claiborne
  • Terrance Mitchell
  • Sterling Moore
  • Tyler Patmon

B.W. Webb is on the outside looking in. I have read different takes on his play from both sides of the spectrum in terms of his contributions, but he is not a player that can be trusted, particularly against the larger variety of receivers. Sterling Moore and Tyler Patmon are new additions to my final 53. Patmon makes it based on 1 part performance against the Dolphins and 2 parts necessity, considering Scandrick’s impending suspension and Morris Claiborne’s inability to remain healthy. Justin Green did not standout in his performance against Miami, however, with corners that could be a good thing. It suggests that whomever he was shadowing was never open. For now, Sterling Moore gets the nod over Green due to his familiarity with the system. That could change come Thursday when both will be getting an extended look with the rest of the bottom of the roster players.

Safety

  • Barry Church
  • J. J. Wilcox
  • Jakar Hamilton
  • Ahmad Dixon
  • Jeff Heath

Perhaps not as difficult as the running back or receiver quandary, safety will be a tough decision for the Cowboys coaching staff. It is possible the Cowboys keep the above five, which wouldn’t create too much of an issue. But given the Cowboys are still light at linebacker, this could be a cut that occurs following the final 53 to bring on a waiver wire prospect.

 

Special Teams:

Kicker

  • Dan Bailey

Punter

  • Chris Jones

Long Snapper

  • L.P. Ladouceur

Bailey and Ladouceur are still locks… that won’t change any time soon. Chris Jones had a good showing against the Dolphins, but he still is not on the same level as the other Special Teams contributors.

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I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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1 Comment
  • Jonathan

    I’m reluctant to remove Parnell due to the trust factor / comfort level the coaches seem to have. Every year it seem’s a player will get outplayed in preseason and yet still figure out away to take the spot. Nick Hayden is another player I retained that I think hasn’t really showed up like others; but the Cowboys keep throwing him in the starting rotation.

    I also found out Martez Wilson was cut today. Despite him being on my final 53, I’m actually not that surprised. I still say this will be a position that could see a new face once all the cuts are made across the league.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?

Dez Bryant es ese jugador que incontables veces me hizo gritar y saltar de alegría con sus excepcionales recepciones y su manera de pelear el balón en el aire. Tantos momentos tan memorables con Tony Romo e incluso algunos con Dak Prescott lo han vuelto uno de mis jugadores favoritos…

Pero ahora, después de una difícil temporada de los Dallas Cowboys, los sentimientos están encontrados.

En muchos momentos, no parece que estamos viendo al Dez Bryant de antes. Claro, podemos decidir recordar esa recepción de touchdown que rompió el récord de la franquicia contra los Redskins, o esa escapada de 50 yardas en New York en la semana 14.

Pero Dez no ha sido el mismo las últimas tres temporadas. Y este 2017, todos los momentos de frustración culminaron en el partido que eliminó a los Cowboys de la temporada.

Cuando los Cowboys se enfrentaron a los Seattle Seahawks, un fumble acompañado por un pase soltado de Dez que resultó en una intercepción, todos nos pusimos a pensar.

La cosa no es que Dez Bryant sea un mal receptor. El talento está ahí, y es fácil verlo en ciertas jugadas. A veces es visible cuando atropella a algún defensivo, a veces cuando busca el balón y consigue atraparlo de una manera impresionante.

Quizá el próximo año se sacuda la mala racha que ha tenido los últimos años y encuentre una manera de ser el jugador que alguna vez fue… el problema es la cantidad de dinero que se le paga.

Después de la temporada del 2014, cuando Bryant terminó el año con 16 touchdowns y más de 1,300 yardas, el receptor estrella firmó un contrato por $70M.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen frente a ellos una pregunta muy importante que resolver este offseason.

 

¿Deberían Deshacerse de Dez Bryant?

A pesar de tener una mala racha, la razón por la cual Dallas le diría adiós a Dez es su contrato. Dez está listo para cobrar $16.5M en el 2018 y otros 16 millones y medio en el 2019. De ser cortado, los Cowboys se ahorrarían ocho millones y medio la próxima temporada.

Suficiente dinero para firmar a un jugador que realmente haga impacto esta agencia libre.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Normalmente, cuando hablamos de jugadores como él, hay muchos conflictos para los aficionados. Vaya, yo mismo acabo de plantear que es uno de mis jugadores favoritos, pero quizá a veces el cambio es necesario.

Sí, la producción de Dez Bryant no ha sido la misma desde la última temporada que tuvo con Tony Romo. Pero ¿es eso excusa suficiente?

Basta pensar en jugadores como Larry Fitzgerald y DeAndre Hopkins para darse cuenta de que no. Aún con quarterbacks mediocres, ambos se mantienen como receptores de elite en la NFL.

Es cierto que Dak Prescott no es el mismo QB que Romo era, y no es un jugador que vaya a lanzar pases profundos tan frecuentemente como Tony lo hacía, pero eso tampoco significa que sea algo malo necesariamente.

Este equipo le construyó un equipo a su ex-mariscal para sacarle todo el provecho al #9. Es hora de hacer lo mismo por Dak Prescott.

Insisto en que los Cowboys tienen que buscar a un WR tan pronto como en la primera ronda del NFL Draft o incluso hasta en agencia libre.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen tantas cosas que hacer antes de la próxima temporada y decidir que hacer con uno de sus jugadores más emblemáticos de la actualidad, Dez Bryant, es una de ellas.

¿Les gustaría ver a Dez Bryant de vuelta en el 2018?

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Estará Dez Bryant de Vuelta en el 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly had a specific role in mind for Ryan Switzer when they drafted him 133rd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Come to find out, that role didn’t include being involved much on the offensive side of the ball, at least not as a rookie.

After watching the way the Cowboys utilized Ryan Switzer in 2017, it’s pretty obvious the sole purpose he was drafted was to improve the special-teams play in the return game.

They clearly didn’t envision him being a part of the game plan on offense, despite the continuous outcry from fans.

Like most rookies, Ryan Switzer didn’t really get off to a fast start, and took a while to get used to the speed of the NFL. But, once he calmed his nerves and regained his confidence, he proved to be an upgrade in the return game.

Switzer ended up ranking third in kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards per return in 2017 and 12th in punt returns with almost 9 yards per return.

He also became the first Dallas Cowboys player to return a punt for a touchdown since 2013. He accomplished this against the Washington Redskins, in Week 13 when he took an 83-yarder to the house.

Surprisingly enough, using Ryan Switzer solely as a return specialist wasn’t enough for a lot of Cowboys Nation. A lot of fans wanted to see his talents utilized more on the offensive side of the ball as well, but were only left disappointed.

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Getting Switzer involved in the offensive game plan just wasn’t in the cards in 2017.

He only managed to catch six passes for 41 yards and rushed four times for 5 yards. This isn’t exactly what Cowboys fans envisioned after hearing Switzer was opening a lot eyes in training camp and organized team activities (OTAs). That was the main problem.

He was hyped up so much heading into the season that fans expected to see him involved much more on offense.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, had something else in mind, but I doubt that’s the case for the upcoming 2018 season.

I really think we’re going to see an increased role for Ryan Switzer next season.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a much better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses now that he has a year in the system under his belt. And, they’ve seen firsthand how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands.

What the Cowboys coaching staff will have to determine this offseason is just how big of a role Switzer will have next year.

Should Switzer take Cole Beasley‘s job?

Cole Beasley, like the rest of the Cowboys receivers, had a down year in 2017. We shouldn’t assume that his job is safe, especially with someone like Ryan Switzer waiting in the wings. But, is Switzer ready to take over full-time?

Tough decisions will have to be made eventually, but such is life in the NFL.

Will Ryan Switzer see an increased offensive role in 2018?

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Brian Martin

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Will Terrance Williams be Back with Cowboys in 2018?

Each offseason tough decisions have to be made by teams around the NFL, and the Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Teams have to decide who to promote, who to demote, and who to cut ties with altogether. For the Cowboys, Terrance Williams fits into one of those three categories, but which one?

It was plainly obvious that the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers all had an extremely disappointing 2017 season.

Everybody has their own opinion as to why this happened, but one thing is for sure, the Cowboys coaching staff will definitely look at ways to get more out of their receiving core. The one player who I think could be affected most by whatever decision the coaching staff ends up making is Terrance Williams.

Williams didn’t do much to make a case for keeping his starting job in 2017, let alone sticking on the roster.

To say he had a disappointing season would be an understatement.

Williams finished the 2017 season with just 53 receptions for 568 receiving yards and absolutely zero touchdowns. The Cowboys were likely hoping for more production from someone they just signed to a four-year, $17-million contract extension back in March [2017].

Now, you can make the argument Williams took a team discount in order to stay in Dallas, but that doesn’t carry much weight when your production leaves so much to be desired. This is especially true when there might be somebody on the roster who can do just as well, and possibly be an upgrade.

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Yes, if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about Noah Brown.

I know I’m not alone here, but I think Noah Brown could easily replace Terrance Williams’ production. I understand that there’s not much evidence to back up that statement based on Brown’s rookie season, but he has all the tools required to succeed.

This is really all about potential, and Noah Brown simply has more upside than Terrance Williams.

We all know what Terrance Williams is as a receiver, and what he brings to the table for the Cowboys offense. I believe Noah Brown can do all the things Williams does and has the potential to be even better.

I already think Noah Brown is a better blocker, something the Cowboys coaching staff really values about Williams. I also think Brown is a better pass catcher. He is a natural hands catcher and has a large catching radius, something Williams obviously isn’t (body catcher).

Right now, Williams is only better than Noah Brown in a few areas. He is slightly faster, he’s more advanced as a route runner, and has more experience. That’s about it.

This will obviously be a tough decision for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to make. But, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Terrance Williams playing somewhere else when the 2018 season kicks off.

Do you think Terrance Williams will be with the Cowboys in 2018?

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