After looking at Dallas's 53-man roster and all of its Special Teams specialists, I find myself wondering, which 7 guys will Dallas leave at home?
Here's what we have now:
2 QBs - Romo, Orton
4 RBs - Murray, Dunbar, Tanner, Randle
5 WRs - Dez. Miles, Terrence, Dwayne, Cole
4 TEs - Witten, Hanna, Escobar, Smith
9 OLmen - Smith, Leary, Frederick, Free, Parnell, Arkin, Costa, Bernardeau, Weems
9 DLmen - Spencer, Hayden, Hatcher, Ware, Selvie, Cohen, Bass, Wilber, Jones
6 LB - Durant, Lee, Carter, Sims, Holloman, Bosworth
4 CB - Carr, Claiborne, Scandrick, Webb
6 S - Allen, Church, Wilcox, Heath, Frampton, McCray
3 ST - Ladouceur, Bailey, Jones
7 of these guys are going to be inactive for the first game. Some may be inactive because they are still nursing injuries. This includes Dunbar, Frampton, and McCray. But let's assume everyone is healthy and you have to inactivate 7 guys. And let's also assume that Dallas doesn't make another roster move, like trading a tight end and claiming a cornerback. Who don't you take?
Some cuts are easy, but right now I can't see the 7 they will leave out.
There are 4 easy cuts:
2 OL -- Arkin and Bernardeau or Weems. With Free able to play guard or tackle, you only need a backup center and swing guard.
1 DL -- I expect Wilber will sit, with Selvie able to back up both DE spots, and Bass able to play DT and DE.
1 CB -- If we add a CB to take Rosario's spot on the roster, I expect he will be inactive on game day.
Every other potential cut sacrifices a potential offensive or defensive contributor if you want a special teams specialist instead.
1 RB? I much prefer Randle over Tanner as a RB, and think he would be better at closing out games if we have the lead. His YPC in preseason has been better, and unlike Tanner, he's actually broken off runs longer than 9 yards. Yet Tanner is noted as a special teams guy, so I'm guessing he's going to win out over Randle on game day. (This assumes Dunbar is healthy enough to play.)
1 WR? Cole Beasley looks like he'll have to be a game-day inactive, as his only ST role is backing up Harris on punt returns. Leaving him home sacrifices the one reason he's on the team -- because he may be your best guy at getting quick separation from anyone covering him in the slot.
There is at least 1 more cut to go. Where do you make it?
DL? -- You can't get by with less than 7 DL to cover rotations, so Selvie, Cohen, and Bass would seem to be required on the 46-man roster, and you just traded for Jones to be a special teams guy, so he stays.
TE? -- With Smith's blocking, you need to take all 4.
That suggests you have to cut from your 6 safeties and 6 LBs. But who do you cut here?
S - Allen and Church are the starters. McCray is a special teams captain. That leaves Wilcox, Heath, and Frampton. Which one sits? If Wilcox sits because Heath has been playing all the teams and seems to be the deep safety of choice behind Allen, that would leave your 3rd round draft pick behind your UDFA. If Frampton sits, why did you keep him?
LB - Durant, Lee, and Carter are your starters. Sims is likely the primary backup at multiple positions. Holloman has made the most plays in pre-season. But you just claimed Bosworth to play special teams. Does this mean Holloman sits? Is Bosworth that much better as a special teamer than Holloman?
I'll be very interested to see how Dallas slices up this pie.
No matter how they cut it, they are going to have to leave home players who you would rather have on offense or defense than the special teams guys they look like they are going to take.