Here are the facts. With the recent release of LB Isaiah Greenhouse, currently Dallas has 87 players on their roster and on Monday 8/27, all NFL teams must have a 75 player roster.
The math says 12 players will have to be cut on Monday. Then just a few days later on Friday 8/31, NFL teams must reduce their rosters to the mandatory 53 man roster. That would mean cutting another 22 players. A lot is about to happen and that’s what makes the Rams game Saturday night critical for several players trying to make the final roster.
These Cowboys need to show up big in the Rams game:
WRs Andre Holmes, Tim Benford and Danny Coale: At this point, I think WRs Ogletree, Beasley and Harris are likely to be on the Cowboys roster. If the Cowboys keep 6 WRs, which they did last season, then only one of these three would make the roster (already have Bryant and Austin). Holmes has the edge based on productivity in the first two preseason games but Benford is not far behind him at all. Coale is just now returning after a broken foot injury that slowed his progress.
Holmes-I think Dallas wants to keep Holmes on the roster but has he shown enough to justify a roster spot for him? So far I am afraid not. He needs a good game.
Benford– Just hasn’t shown enough in games to justify a roster spot yet. Needs to have a big game.
Coale– Rookie was drafted by the Cowboys and I’m confident they would like to keep him and see what he can do now that he isn’t injured. Coale must make some plays to show the coaches that he was a good draft pick and worth holding on to.
RBs Jamize Olawale, Javarris Williams and Lance Dunbar: The Cowboys will keep either 3 or 4 RBs. Last year they kept 4 and with Tanner injured, I think Dallas must consider keeping 4. Murray and Jones are in and most likely they keep Tanner too. That leaves only one spot open for these three RBs.
Olawale has certainly made a strong case so far with 70 yards on 22 carries so he has the edge. Williams and Dunbar must have big games to even be considered for a spot.
QBs Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter: Typically Dallas keeps 3 QBs. Romo and Orton are in of course so that leaves one spot open for either McGee or Carpenter. In my view McGee was better in the first preseason game while Carpenter was better in the second. This competition is very even going into the Rams game meaning someone needs to step up and break the tie.
Defensive Linemen Geathers, Bass, Callaway, and Atkins: This happens to be a very deep position for the Cowboys and in my view, only one spot is open for these 4 players. All four of them have demonstrated solid play but no one has really pulled away from the pack yet. Bass had a really nice game against the Raiders but must produce another one to pull away from the pack. All four are looking to impress in the Rams game to make the squad.
LBs Orie Lemon and Adrian Hamilton: LB is another position where Dallas has nice depth. Last season Dallas kept a total of 7 LBs but this year I think they will keep 8. That would pretty much leave one spot open for either Lemon or Hamilton.
Lemon who is in his second season, has had an impressive camp and made 5 tackles in the Chargers game proving he can help the defense.
Hamilton is an undrafted rookie that has demonstrated outstanding pass rushing ability. He pressured the QB nicely in the Raiders game. However Hamilton probably represents more of a project player that needs development.
Both Lemon and Hamilton need good games to justify keeping them on the roster.
Secondary Mana Silva, Matt Johnson, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Teddy Williams: In the past Dallas has kept 9 secondary players that consist of a combination of CBs and safeties. In my view, only one of these 4 will make the 53 man roster.
Silva had an INT at the end of the Raiders game and has displayed nice instincts at safety.
Johnson was drafted in the 4th round by Dallas but has not played because of a hamstring pull. It’s clear the Cowboys like him and want to keep him but how do you justify it if we haven’t seen him play?
AOA is a player that Dallas brought back from the Jags to try at CB. So far he has mixed reviews.
Williams is the track star project that just hasn’t ever come together.
All four are in the running to make the roster and need huge games against the Rams. My guess is that it is more likely to be a safety (Johnson or Silva) that Dallas keeps.
Time is running out for these players to impress and make the final cuts. The Rams game represents a huge opportunity for them.