Battle-ing the Stanback Effect

I want to take a peek at an intriguing story that’s developing in the back drop of training camp. At issue, Isaiah Stanback’s roster value versus Jackie Battle’s roster value. When the team plays against the Colts this Thursday night, we’re going to see Battle run over people, make plays, and finish his runs. On the other side of the coin, we will not be seeing 4th round draft pick Isaiah Stanback play. So, how does an undrafted rookie from the University of Houston get on the team? That is the question. I’ve already seen enough from Battle to know he’s the real deal at his position; however, the same cannot be said about Stanback. Stanback has not practiced since we drafted him in April. He missed all the mini-camps, all the OTAs, and all of training camp.

To top it off, Stanback was drafted to take over punt returning duties, something he hasn’t even done. He hasn’t played receiver in 4yrs. Would he better at PR than Skyler Green, who was a return specialist in college, but failed to make the team? At this point, we just do not know. His value on the roster seems bleak.

What’s the thing that’s saving Stanback’s roster spot? Nick Folk. Nick Folk is going to beat out Gramatica, and we’re only going to carry one place kicker, which leaves that roster spot for Stanback.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Cowboys do with the RB back situation. We know Julius Jones, and Marion Barber III are starting. And it sounds like Tyson Thompson will be kept around because of his game breaking speed and his value on special teams. We could see Thompson and Austin try out at the PR spot, since we’re short there. Who really wants Newman on PR, NO BODY…The Cowboys have to be thinking about the future here as well. Not having Stanback ready, is creating a butterfly effect, or in this case – Stanback effect.

If Julius runs well, and he probably will, do the Cowboys extend him or let him go elsewhere? If Julius leaves, we have Barber as the primary running back for 2008. The Cowboys will want to keep a strong stable in the backfield, so you’d be looking at Barber coupled with Thompson? or would you rather have Barber coupled with Battle? Speed vs. Power basically. Thompson has pretty much peaked and we’ve seen everything he has to offer; however, Battle has come on strong from the get go, and he has not slowed down, instead he continues to impress. And what about the Darren McFadden scenario? Some fans, already have him penciled-in as our first pick in the first round. Its quite the predicament. This is how the Cowboys will be looking at Thompson vs. Battle.

Best case scenario: Battle makes the practice squad and no one picks him up. I’m not sure that would happen, its a definite risk.

Worst case scenario: Battle makes the practice squad, and gets plucked immediately.

At what point do the Cowboys, take the hit, and put Stanback on IR? Supposedly, he was going to practice last Tuesday, that did not happen. Stanback has been injured since October 2006. I did not see the game but the injury was described as a:

gruesom incident — and the way Stanback lay in agony on the turf — made the injury look serious.”

Stanback, has been rehabbing against the lisfranc sprain which ended his collegiate season. Since then, Stanback has developed shin splints. What the heck are shin splints, and why can’t he recover from them? Read about shin splints here. In brief, its described as painful condition that effects the shin as a result of running and jumping. They take a very long time to heal. Great…

The reality is that the Cowboys, under Phillips, are not going to cut Stanback; they’re being extremely patient with their 4th rounder.

The Cowboys placed Stanback on the Active/Non-Football Injury List at the beginning of camp, which could protect them from having to make a decision on his roster spot.

As long as Stanback remains out of practice, the Cowboys have the option of keeping him on NFI for the first six weeks of the regular season. Then, they would have three weeks to see if he could return to practice, and if he did return, three more weeks to decide whether to activate him to the roster or place him on injured reserve. In all, the Cowboys could wait 12 weeks into the regular season before deciding what to do with his roster spot. (from

I’ll take a peek at the 53-man roster soon. Check back later.

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