Here we go; the fifth and final edition of the roster predictions. Keep in mind that this is a prediction of what the roster will look like Week One, not necessarily what it looks like tomorrow. Sam Young and Jeremy Parnell will both be on the team tomorrow at 4pm EST, but one of them won’t be when we kickoff in New York.
QB: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (3)
Previous: Romo, Kitna, Mcgee
Since there’s no analysis needed here, enjoy this hypothetical. If Romo had never been hurt last year and we’d never seen Kitna play, where would we be right now in the discussion of McGee taking over as the backup quarterback? With the talk of a second kicker, I think there’s be a lot of people calling for us to keep just two quarterbacks like we did with Romo and Brad Johnson a few years back.
RB: Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner (3)
Prev: Jones, Murray, Tanner
I’m sticking with the rookie backups here. Tashard Choice has no special teams value, so if you’re going to keep Tanner for his offensive play then why keep Choice? Murray has looked great in preseason and there shouldn’t enough carries to keep Choice happy anyway. Plus, there are just too many issues at other positions to keep four running backs right now.
FB: Shaun Chapas
It sounds like Chapas has started to come on a little bit over the last few weeks. Anytime you’re talking about a drafted player there’s a little extra incentive to keep him on the roster. Bennett’s injury means Phillips will be needed to play more true TE, so keeping Chapas makes sense right now. This is a prime spot for a waiver wire pickup, though.
WR: Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Jesse Holley (5)
Prev: Austin, Bryant, Harris, Holley, Raymond Radway
Manny Johnson did everything he could to earn a spot, but there’s just no way it works. Ogletree has experience, Harris has potential, and Holley has special teams play. Sometimes you just have to cut good players, and even if we’d gone with six receivers this year that spot would’ve been Radway’s. Also, John has one more year of practice squad eligibility.
TE: Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, John Phillips, Martin Rucker (4)
Prev: Witten, Bennett, Phillips, Rucker
As said last week, Rucker stays on due to the Bennett injury and then they’ll make a decision between he or Chapas when Bennett’s ready to return. Even if they can’t afford to keep both right now, Rucker should be totally safe and it would be the fullback who doesn’t make it.
OT: Doug Free, Tyron Smith, [Free Agent], Young (4)
Prev: Free, Smith, [FA], Young
I’m still not sure Young even makes it, but if he seems to be the only viable candidate if they retain a backup tackle. They’ll definitely sign someone to be the swing tackle, and maybe even another player to replace Young if there’s a prospect they like. Let’s just hope nobody gets injured.
G/C: Kyle Kosier, Phil Costa, Bill Nagy, David Arkin, Kevin Kowalski (5)
Prev: Kosier, Arkin, Costa, Nagy, Kowalski
I know some nice things were said about Holland recently, but there are just too many other issues right now to keep him on. Arkin as the swing guard and Kowalski as the backup center is enough to get you through a game. If you need to sign someone later on, there will be a Holland-like guy available.
DE: Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore (4)
Prev: Spears, Coleman, Hatcher, Lissemore, Clifton Geathers
There’s a decent chance Geathers won’t get claimed off the practice squad, so with all the other needs right now I think they have to take that chance. The versatility of Lissemore being able to play NT and Ratliff being able to play DE, plus the change to Ryan’s scheme, allows them to go thin at defensive line. Olshansky keeping his job here would be almost ludicrous at this point, especially on the heels of Gurode’s release.
DT: Jay Ratlif, Josh Brent (2)
Prev: Ratliff, Brent
Nothing new here. I wish Brent had shown a little more during preseason, but maybe he’s still adjusting to the scheme. He’s going to be in trouble next year; between Ratliff’s declining production and a new coaching staff there’s a good chance they’ll be looking to find their NT of the future.
OLB: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Victor Butler, Alex Albright (4)
Prev: Ware, Spencer, Butler, Albright
I think there will be a healthy “Spencer vs. Butler” debate going throughout this season. Spencer’s in a contract year and I don’t see him being re-signed until next offseason, so Butler has a great chance to steal the job. Hopefully the scenario pushes both guys to play at their top level.
ILB: Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Sean Lee, Kenwin Cummings (4)
Prev: James, Brooking, Lee, Cummings
There will be a battle between Cumming and Albright as to who keeps their job when Bruce Carter gets off PUP. But with six weeks to wait, there’s a good chance someone will get injured and settle the issue for them. If Sean Lee comes on strong early this year, don’t sleep on Brooking being cut midseason.
CB: Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Alan Ball, Mario Butler, Josh Thomas (6)
Prev: Newman, Jenkins, Scandrick, Ball, Butler
It makes sense to go heavy at corner right now with the injuries. Butler has been slightly better than McCann and Thomas. Thomas is injured and they’ll hang on to him so that they don’t have to do a settlement. There’s no real value in keeping McCann at this point with Dwayne Harris probably taking over the return duties.
S: Gerald Sensabaugh, Abram Elam, Barry Church, Danny McCray (4)
Prev: Sensabaugh, Elam, Church, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, McCray
If this was still Wade Phillips’ team then I think Akwasi would make it. Rob Ryan didn’t draft him and the kid has simply not shown anything. If it’s a decision to be made keeping Josh Thomas or Akwasi, then I think Ryan goes with the kid he had a hand in drafting. When you consider that Ball can step in and play safety, keeping five guys here just doesn’t work.
ST: David Beuhler, Dan Bailey, Matt McBriar, L.P. Ladouceur (4)
Prev: Shayne Graham, McBriar, Ladouceur
I have to give the guys as DallasCowboys.com credit here, because they made a great point today I hadn’t considered. Keeping Shayne Graham or Dave Rayner means their salaries are guaranteed as veterans. You can run with Bailey, who really hasn’t looked any worse than them, and not have to worry about paying him for the full year if you decide to cut him loose later. Makes perfect sense to me.