After the Blue White scrimmage I really see Dallas doing some roster stuff no one envisioned. 3 QB's, 4RB's 9 D-linemen. This is the best depth the Cowboys have had in nearly 13 years. I do not envy this Pro Department with the decisions to let some of this talent they found go, but something has to give. Without further ado.
Romo will be the starter for at least 4 more seasons. Orton may only be the back up this last year. Tanney is my first surprise. Alex acquitted himself well in the short time he has been here. In less than 2 weeks with Dallas he already looks better then Stephen McGee did in 4 years. I don't think they will try to stash him on the PS for fear of losing him.
Murray will stun people with his bruising style this year. He may even hark en back images of MBIII in his first 2 years. Dunbar and Randle will interchange as the number 2 / CoP back depending on down and distance. Tanner is the second surprise. He has shown some real magic so far. Lighter, quicker, shiftier, just a better version of what he used to be. And he is the second best back at picking up blitzes. If Tanner does not make the squad it will be for a sixth receiver (Eric Rogers).
This is probably the most set position going into the '13-'14 season. Or so we think? What if Dallas goes short at WR and RB for a 5th TE? Or maybe go with 5 G/C's instead of 6? If Dallas does, and this is a very big IF, Andre Smith would be that 5th guy. The top 4 are set. There is no doubts on that unless there is an injury. Whereas Smith has suddenly shown he can be a legit receiving threat! This guy is basically an OT playing the TE position. If he continues to shine would this be something they would consider?
Dez is going to be the Optimus Prime to Calvin Johnsons Megatron this year. Miles is the best number 2 in the league. Even when he misses a few games hurt, he still puts up numbers like 15 other teams number ones. Williams and Harris are the 3rd receiver. Not many teams have 2 number 3's, but Dallas does. Beasley should make the team as the 5th WR. But he will need to show more than just a good rapport with Romo and slot abilities. I'm expecting Garret and Co. to try to justify keeping 6 WR's on this squad. With the emergence of Eric Rogers and Anthony Armstrong I think they would have good reason to keep 6. If Rogers or Armstrong make this team, it will be at the expense of a 4th RB (Tanner).
Tron and Free are the starters. Free is looking like he found his passion and technique again. Parnell, Parnell, Parnell. What happened? He was going to be pushing Free for the starting position! Now he is going to be pushed for his position maybe. Edwan Coughman has been impressive. He is a younger version of Parnell. An ex Basketball player with limited experience in football. But he is farther along in his football conversion, by light years, as compared to where Parnell was at this point in his career. If Parnell can't shake the injury bug and start to show some improvement, Coughman may take his spot on the team. Dallas may even go light at G/C to keep Edwan for fear of losing him if they try to sneak him over to the PS.
This is still where all the questions are at. And I'm not looking for the RHG to make the final decisions here until the 3rd or 4th preseason game. We only have one out of ten as a definitive starter that is currently on the Cowboys roster. Fredbeard is going to start, either at Center or at Right Guard. Leary looked good, very good, in OTA's and Mini's. Then he got gimped. Now I see Livings having the inside track at the Left side. Leary will still factor into the mix, but his injury made Livings roster spot safe. The surprise cut will be Mackenzy Bernadeau. Big Mac has been out too long. This is the 2nd year where he has missed a ton of time before the season starts. Callahan loves Arkin. I expect Bill to get in Garrets ear on this move. Bye bye Bernadeau, hello Arkin or Livings or Kowalski or Frederick. If they go light here to keep a 5th TE, either Livings or Kowalski will be the cut. The starters I'd like to see: LT-Smith, LG-Leary, C-Frederick, RG-Arkin, RT-Free. The starters I actually expect to see: LT-Smith, LG-Livings, C-Costa, RG-Frederick, RT-Free.
Like TE, these guys are pretty well set. Carr and Mo will do much better in this defense than a lot of sports writers are anticipating. Scandrick has been a man possessed so far this preseason. Orlando has looked like he should be a starter! I'm excited to still have him as our 3rd corner. Moore is a very solid 4th corner / safety / linebacker. Sterling can, would, and could play any of these positions if asked. Webb will need some time to adjust to the speed of the NFL. In 2 or 3 years he will be our starting slot corner.
Do not place bets on Johnson starting over Allen. Also don't take any odds on Wilcox starting over Allen sometime in the middle of the year. Will Allen is not Brodney Pool. He is a very legit over the top safety to play in the Kiffin-2 system. He is experienced and can read an offense quickly. With the CB's playing closer to the line than ever before, Dallas is going to need a veteran to run the back end. The day one starters will be Allen and Church. If anything, look for Wilcox to take reps away from Barry as the season goes on. Johnson will need another year or two before he becomes a starter, if ever. McCray will not be pushed off this roster by another safety. He is too good on teams to get bumped by the likes of the scrubs under him. But a certain LB by the name of DeVonte Holloman may make him expendable. He has been excelling in special teams practices. If that is the case Dallas could go long at WR or RB without expending another position.
Bruce Lee will do incredible in this system. My only concern, Lee is already 27 years old. Durant will surprise many. He is going to be the star of the LBing core. Why? Because teams will look to avoid Carter and Lee. Thus going at Durant. He will make them pay. He is a very sure tackler and has looked stupendous in coverage. Swiss Albright will stay more for his jack of all trades ability than anything else. Sims is still young, athletic, cheap and experienced. He is a good quality back up for any of the 3 LB positions. Holloman has been a nice find by the Pro Dept. He has not looked lost playing at the NFL level. Look for Devonte to be a core special teamer for a few years. He may even work into a starting role as a SAM down the road.
The loss of Tyrone Crawford was a blow. Ware and Spencer will both make people think they have always played with a hand down. Ware has a real chance at the single season sack record in this scheme. Spencer should account for 12-14 sacks as an exclusive rushman. Wilber is being groomed to be The Great One's eventual replacement. If Spencer does leave next year, look for Crawford to have the first shot at his position, not Wilber. Ben Bass is going to see a lot of time as a DE and as a DT. He is going to be rotating wherever they need him. If he plays football as good as he looks like a football player, he should be a monster. Cam can play DE or DT also. With the injuries taking their toll, he has taken advantage.
If Jay and Jason can remain healthy, they should bring back memories of Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland. This is a position that has taken it's fair share of lumps also. Brent, Calloway, Price to name a few. Enough that the critics are already crying, Shariff Floyd. Well I think Floyd will be a bust. Hell he is not even going to be a starter. Lissemore has not looked overwhelming this preseason. But for a 7th round supplemental draft pick, he provides play equivalent to most 4th rounders. Hayden is another impressive find of the Pro Department. He has been outstanding as of late. Look for him to get the nod for the gameday 46 over Sheffield.
Does anyone really think there will be a different starter here?