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Week 2 Cowboys Roster Projection: Tarheel Paul




Cowboys Blog - Week 2 Cowboys Roster Projection: Tarheel Paul

It's getting to that time in the preseason where guys are starting to separate themselves.  I think my roster reflects the guys that have done so. This is not an easy task folks. I used to think it was. But it is very difficult once you get down to around 60 players.

You have to consider so much - numbers at each position, if you cut a guy will he make it through waivers to your practice squad, do you cut a veteran for the week 1 game with the intent of bringing him back week 2 so that his salary isn't fully guaranteed... and I haven't even gotten into injuries to guys like Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence that you know will be back eventually, but you probably won't have the first few weeks of the season. Not to mention the suspension of Orlando Scandrick which just throws a wrench into everything.

So we've established the difficulty of a roster projection. Below is my best effort. And yes. If you do the math, I realize there are 54 players listed. Simply because of Scandrick's suspension. He will be on the team for the first 4 weeks but will not count against the roster during that time.

In keeping with the running roster projections by the staff during preseason, players added to this roster are denoted in red below.


Defense (28 players)

Safety – 5
Barry Church
J.J. Wilcox
Jeff Heath
Ahmad Dixon
Jakar Hamilton

Church and Wilcox are cemented as the starters. Jeff Heath is the coaching staff's pet cat and the new Danny McCray of the special teams unit. Ahmad Dixon put enough bulldozing hits on the Chargers that I don't think they can risk trying to get him to the practice squad. I'm sliding Jakar Hamilton in because, of all the safeties we have, I think he might be the best when it comes to pass coverage. There was a reason early in camp that he was dropping down and covering the slot. He's the only true single high safety we have on the roster.

Cornerback – 6
Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Orlando Scandrick
Terrance Mitchell
B.W. Webb
Sterling Moore

Same 6 as last week but I could definitely see it changing before San Fran. Webb was better in coverage against Baltimore but I just don't know if he has the physical toughness to play this type of defense. Rod has always had tough CBs that weren't afraid to hit, and I noticed a couple of times against the Ravens where Webb had a chance to get rough and make a play or two but flat-out avoided the contact instead. To B.W. Webb I say, "Sir, you are no Deion Sanders". He cannot afford to make business decisions. Tyler Patmon played very well last night and the coaches really seem to like him. You're on notice, Webb.

Outside Linebacker – 3
Bruce Carter
DeVonte Holloman
Kyle Wilber

While I'm keeping the same guys here - this is starting to get a little tricky. First off, the neck injury that Holloman suffered this week could be serious. As I type this, no reports have surfaced yet on the seriousness of the injury. But it's the same injury that kept him out of 7 games last year. When you start to have multiple injuries to the same body part, there is a problem. When that body part is the neck then it's a HUGE problem. We will have to keep a close eye on this.

Also, while I know Bruce Carter is a lock to make the team - I'm not quite so sure that he is a lock to start on the weak-side anymore. While he definitely played better in coverage this week, he still missed a couple of assignments against the run-game and struggled to get off blocks that led to some big runs. It pains me to type this because Bruce is my man. I mean MY MAIN MAN. But if Rolando McClain continues to play as well as he did Saturday night, I could easily see a starting trio of McClain at MLB, Durant at WLB, and Wilber at SLB. It's all about getting the best 3 players on the field.

Inside Linebacker – 3
Justin Durant
Rolando McClain
Anthony Hitchens

While nothing changes here, I sure do feel a lot better about this group than I did last week. Rolando McClain led the team in tackles against the Ravens and had a forced-fumble that rolled out of bounds. Most importantly he seemed to be having fun. Justin Durant also looked a lot better this week. Reports from camp have been that he's really playing well. But that didn't translate at all into the Chargers game. Well it did this week. He seemed to be exactly where he was supposed to be during his time on the field with the 1st team defense, which held the Ravens 1st string offense to 10 points.

Defensive Line – 11
Henry Melton DT
Nick Hayden DT
Terrell McClain DT
Davon Coleman DT
DeMarcus Lawrence DE
George Selvie DE
Jeremy Mincey DE
Tyrone Crawford DE/DT
Dartwan Bush DE
Ken Bishop DT
Anthony Spencer DE

Defensive Tackles: No, I did not forget about this weeks Flash Player of The Week Zach Minter. He was outstanding in the 4th quarter. But I have to see it more than once to justify putting him on the 53. I think the rest of the guys you see listed are pretty much locks. Devon Coleman shined once again against the Ravens. I think it's safe to say he has made the 53.

Defensive End: The new addition to the d-line this week is Mr. Dartwan Bush. Much like WR Jamar Newsome, he has combined a good training camp with good games as well. After re-watching the game, he was just everywhere. The strip sack that Minter got was in large part because Bush forced the QB right into his arms. He's earned his spot. That bumped Kenneth Boatright down to the practice squad. Boatright had back-to-back splash plays against the Chargers, but he really had zero impact Saturday and, while I'm not reporting live from training camp, I haven't read anything to suggest he is doing anything special. So shame on me for getting caught up in his flash plays last week.

Offense (23 Players)

Quarterback – 2
Tony Romo
Brandon Weeden

No changes here. Romo is obviously fine and while Weeden wasn't as sharp as he was against the Chargers - It's important to note that he was playing with the Cowboys 2's against the Ravens 1's. Despite Hanie looking much better than he did against the Chargers, I just can't fathom a way for the Cowboys to keep 3 QBs.

Running Back – 4
DeMarco Murray
Joseph Randle
Lance Dunbar
Ryan Williams

Last week I stated that Murray and Dunbar were the only locks. Well I think it's safe to say Randle can be added to that list after a great showing against the Chargers, and then backing that up with 5.9 YPC against the Ravens. The new addition this week is Ryan Williams. That means the exit of fullback Tyler Clutts. Neither Clutts nor J.C. Copeland have done anything to earn a spot on the 53 man roster. Ryan Williams has done the exact opposite. In both preseason games he has taken advantage of his opportunities. Jason Garrett has kept 4 RBs more than once (including last year), and as it stands right now, I think he does it again.

Wide Receiver – 6
Dez Bryant
Terrance Williams
Cole Beasley
Dwayne Harris
Devin Street
............drum roll please.........
Jamar Newsome

The first 5 - Bryant, Williams, Beasley, Harris, and Street - have been locks from day one. And if you would have asked me last week, or any week during training camp, I would have told you there was no way the Cowboys can keep 6 WRs. But Jamar Newsome has done exactly what an UDFA has to do to make a team. He's had a great training camp and now he's starting to carry that over into the actual games.  He's going to make it very difficult for the coaches to cut him. So I decided to call him up from the Practice Squad.

Tight End – 3
Jason Witten
Gavin Escobar
James Hanna

No Changes here. The only thing that comes to my mind is if someone comes up on the waiver wire that can actually run-block. While Escobar and Hanna have both improved on their blocking - neither one of them make me feel all giggly inside when it comes to pushing people back in the run game.

Offensive Line – 8
Tyron Smith OT
Doug Free OT
Jeremy Parnell OT
Travis Fredbeard C
Mackenzy Bernadeau G/C
Ron Leary G
Zack Martin G
Uche Nwaneri G

The only change here this week is removing Darrion Weems and adding Uche Nwaneri. Simply put, I have to see you play. And I haven't seen Weems play. He's been injured and as old Parcells used to say, "You can't make the team on the trainers table." Nwaneri, on the other hand, has played. And he's played well enough to keep him on the 53 for extra depth. Also, as much junk as Parnell has taken - and rightfully so - he actually played pretty well against the Ravens. Every one will point to the one play where he almost got Weeden killed but, outside of that, he had a very solid night in both pass and run blocking. At one point, he pulled and was the lead man that led Joseph Randle to a 19-yard gain around the left side. And quite frankly, he's all we've got as a backup swing tackle.

Special Teams – 3
Dan MFN Baily K
LP French Canadian Daddy LS
Chris Jones P

Practice Squad – 8
Tyler Patmon CB
Will Smith LB
Caesar Rayford DE/DT
Kenneth Boatright DE
Dustin Vaughn QB
Chris Boyd WR
Ronald Patrick C/G
John Wetzel G/T

A few changes here. Ben Gardner was moved to IR. Jamar Newsome and Dartwan Bush were called up to the 53 which pushed Caesar Rayford and Kenneth Boatright down. I think the Cowboys risk losing both of these to other teams. They could both easily shine enough in these last 2 preseason games to force me into finding a way to get at least one of them back on the 53.

So there you have it. It's what I think is the best 53 players to take into week 1. Good God, I can't even imagine having to figure out which 46 to make active.

Family, God, and the Freaking Dallas Cowboys. That's my life. Married to a wonderful wife that knows to let me be during football season and she can have me for the other 6 months of the year. Father of 3 wonderful kids. 1 son that is proudly serving his country in the United States Air Force. 1 son that is a toddler and will be the future left tackle of the Dallas Cowboys. And one amazing and beautiful daughter that passed away in 2009 at the age of 4 that I can guarantee is running through heaven shouting "GO COWBOYS"!!! Everything I do in life is for them.


Star Blog

Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten’s Game?

Brian Martin



Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten's Game?

Jason Witten is 37 years old, retired from the NFL after the completion of 2017 season to try his luck as an announcer in the booth, but has now decided to come out of retirement to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys? It seems a little unrealistic to think he can come back after a year away from the game and pick up where he left off, but it sounds as if he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Jason Witten has been the talk of Dallas Cowboys OTA practices so far. These practices are unpadded and basically just an opportunity to do install some of the offensive and defensive plays, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the things that has been somewhat surprising though is how talked up the future Hall of Famer has become.

Here is what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say recently about Jason Witten's return:

“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.”

The main thing that stands out from Garrett's quote to me is how Jason Witten looks just as good, if not better after not playing at all in 2018. To think that his testing numbers are possibly even better is unfathomable. We typically don't see NFL players in their mid-30s retire from the game and then return just as good, or maybe even better than they were before.

It's inhuman!

Jason Witten, Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten

Maybe that's just what Jason Witten is, a little inhuman. Maybe he's found the secret to turning the clock back just a little bit. Or, maybe he found the fountain the youth and didn't tell anybody. Regardless, there's no doubt Witten will be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys offense, especially if he's gained a step.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm hoping the year away from the game did him some good. I honestly thought he made the right decision to retire prior to the 2018 season. It just looked like father time was catching up to him in 2017. But, hopefully all he needed was a little time away from the grind he's been putting his body through for over a decade.

Whatever he's done hasn't gone unnoticed though. Even Quarterback Dak Prescott has noticed and said he's on to Witten's scheme.

“I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.”

I'm not afraid to admit I wasn't too excited to see Witten come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys at first. I was skeptical he could be the player he once was after a year away from the game. But, all of this talk about him looking as good as he once was, perhaps better, has me really looking forward to seeing him on the field once again.

Do you think a year away has rejuvenated Jason Witten's game?

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Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva

Mauricio Rodriguez



3 Quick Fixes to Jumpstart Cowboys Anemic Offense

Los Dallas Cowboys tuvieron un interesante 2018. La ofensiva dejo mucho que desear toda la primera mitad de la temporada cuando carecían de un receptor número uno. No fue hasta media temporada cuando consiguieron a Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, que la ofensiva comenzó a verse realmente amenazante. Siendo sinceros, el cuerpo de receptores de los Cowboys lucía muy débil al inicio y Michael Gallup aún no conseguía mucho tiempo de juego en el emparrillado. Incluso una vez en el equipo, a pesar de las grandes hazañas de Cooper en Dallas, la ofensiva no terminó de dar el siguiente paso.

Sí, con Amari en el equipo vimos un equipo de Cowboys que movía constantemente las cadenas e incluso se convirtió en una de las mejores unidades en tercera oportunidad en la liga, pero no fue suficiente. Los problemas en zona roja persistieron y continuamos viendo una selección de jugadas muy cuestionable semana tras semana.

Es por eso que al finalizar la temporada, la administración de los Cowboys finalmente tomó una decisión muy anticipada. El entonces coordinador ofensivo, Scott Linehan, fue despedido.

En cuanto a talento, los Dallas Cowboys no verán un cambio mayor en su ofensiva. Cole Beasley, uno de los mejores WR slot en la NFL, firmó con los Buffalo Bills durante la agencia libre. A pesar de la llegada de Randall Cobb, la ofensiva probablemente extrañará bastante a Beasley. Además está el regreso de Jason Witten al campo, quien se repartirá el balón mucho con los jóvenes del equipo, principalmente con Blake Jarwin. Por último, Travis Frederick podría estar de regreso como el centro titular. Fuera de eso, no se anticipan cambios de jugadores en la ofensiva.

Y a pesar de esto, la afición de los Cowboys espera ver un cambio grande entre la ofensiva del 2018 y la de 2019. Si las cosas salen bien, así será. Pero más que por el talento del equipo, que ya está ahí y es un muy buen talento, deberá ser por el hombre al mando.

Kellen Moore

Kellen Moore ha tomado las riendas como el nuevo coordinador ofensivo y finalmente podremos ver su potencial. Muchos han criticado a Moore, en gran parte por nunca haber sido un quarterback exitoso en la NFL. Sin embargo, hay muchas razones por las cuales deberíamos estar emocionados.

Desde que Moore salió de la universidad de Boise State, se le veía como un prospecto muy inteligente. Incluso analistas como Jon Gruden (en ese entonces conductor del programa de ESPN Gruden's QB Camp) mencionaban que Moore probablemente no sería un gran mariscal, pero que tenía la mente de un coach.

En Boise, Moore trabajaba con la ofensiva del actual coach de los Washington Huskies, Chris Petersen. Esta ofensiva es una muy complicada que le exige al mariscal saber casi tanto como un jugador profesional. Muchos han descrito a Moore como un genio ofensivo que será un gran coach en el futuro.

Para los Cowboys, Kellen Moore será una pieza clave en 2019. Si vemos una ofensiva realmente diferente, será gracias a su creatividad y filosofía que implementa a un grupo bastante talentoso en Dallas. Los jugadores están ahí, ¿sabrá el coordinador ofensivo de 30 años aprovecharlos?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Headlines - Rubbing Salt In The Wound That Is Randy Gregory

The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.

Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.

Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.

The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.

Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.

For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.

Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.

Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.

The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.

Tell me what you think about "NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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