Saturday Dallas will make the final cuts down to a 53 man roster. While the last preseason game is considered “meaningless” by all accounts, it can certainly be a meaningful game to a group of prospects that are right on the bubble of making the team.
As a team, Dallas showed little interest in their 24-6 loss to the Texans but these individual Cowboys may have done enough to make the team. A look at the “on the bubble” players that made one last effort to make the squad.
WRs Anthony Armstrong and Tim Benford:
There is no way Dallas can keep both of these WRs and it’s possible they aren’t able to keep either of them on the final roster. But I think there is a good chance they will keep one of them.
Benford had a nice game Thursday night leading all receivers with 4 catches for 60 yards. In the preseason, Benford has been the more productive receiver of the two with 11 catches for 135 yards while Armstong finished with 4 catches for 47 yards. Armstrong has NFL experience and provides much needed speed. He also has done a good job on special teams in the preseason covering punts. Those factor into the decision of who to keep.
This one will be a tough decision for the Dallas coaches. On one hand, Benford has been the more productive player as a receiver while Armstrong also helps them on special teams. Both of these guys are strong candidates for their practice squad if they don’t make the roster. I think Benford may have done enough Thursday night to be the Cowboys 6th WR. UPDATE: Armstrong to be released
QB Alex Tanney:
Tanney saw plenty of action Thursday night as he was sacked 7 times playing behind a very patched together, make do, offensive line. Talk about taking one for the team. When Tanney was able to throw, he went 17 of 31 for 177 yards and threw an interception. He finished the preseason with 423 yards passing and a QB rating of 65. Not terrible with everything considered.
The question is will Dallas keep Tanney on the roster as their 3rd QB or slide him over to the practice squad? Moving him to the practice squad comes with a risk as another team could claim him like what happened years ago with QB Matt Moore. But to justify a roster spot, Dallas must ask themselves if they think Tanney will play and contribute right away and I think the answer to that is probably not. But if they fear losing him, they may keep him on the roster.
Since the Cowboys need depth at other positions, I believe Dallas will attempt to move Tanney to the practice squad for more development and keep just two QBs on the roster.
Safety Jeff Heath:
Heath, a rookie out of Saginaw Valley State, is the guy who made the big hit in the Bengals game which caused a fumble. Creating turnovers will be a big priority on defense this season so this kind of thing will get a player noticed. Heath was involved in 5 tackles Thursday night which helps make the case to keep him.
With safety Matt Johnson injured once again, I think Dallas must consider keeping a healthy Heath and move on from an injury prone Johnson. I think Heath has earned a spot on the roster at safety.
LBs Cameron Lawrence, Caleb McSurdy and Taylor Reed:
All three of these LBs may be fighting for one last available spot at LB.
Lawrence had a very good game with 5 solo tackles to make a case to keep him.
McSurdy was the Cowboys final pick in last year’s draft but spent last season injured. They have given him a serious look at LB this year and he has played well but well enough is the question? He had 2 solos and 2 assist in the game. I imagine Dallas wants to keep him since he was a draft pick.
Taylor Reed finished the game with 3 solo tackles and 2 assist. During the preseason games, the SMU rookie has been involved with a total of 16 tackles so he has been a consistent performer.
Tough decisions to be made here for sure but it’s possible that one of these three did enough to claim one of the final spots. With Lawrence, it may be a matter of stepping up too late. While McSurdy has played well, Taylor has been more consistent throughout preseason. I like Taylor’s chances best of the three to make the roster.
CBs Sterling Moore and Micah Pellerin:
With Mo Claiborne’s knee being an issue right now, I look for Dallas to keep more CBs than originally expected. They have Carr, Scandrick, Claiborne, and Webb for sure, but I look for them to keep at least one more possibly two.
These two guys are very even in a battle to make the roster. Both have two passes defended during the preseason and their total tackle numbers are similar too. Moore was a little more active in the game Thursday night and he has more experience as a 3rd year veteran.
A close call here but I have to give the edge to Moore as more likely to make the roster. It’s possible that both are kept and even possible that Dallas keeps neither one of them. But with Claiborne missing action with his knee, I like Moore’s chances to make the roster.