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Nothing left but cutting down the roster

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I watched the game last night through a stream, but even though I could tell what was going on and the replays helped to isolate the play, it wasn’t the best way to watch and evaluate for the 53-man roster.

You can read about the game to some extent at the DMN, the DFW S-T and DC.com. The articles were mainly concerned with the guys who are trying to make the roster or players who might have to fill-in for the injured in the early part of the season. While informative, they really didn’t have any information beyond what I could already tell for myself.

That brings us to the cuts coming up - deadline 4 PM EST Saturday – and how we get down to the 53-man roster. I thought this was going to be an easier year predicting a 53-man roster, but as usual, those last few cuts are really hard to make. Getting down to 56 or so was easy, but slotting in the final five or six guys in those final few positions isn’t easy. I’m still working on it, and hope to have my predictions up soon. After all, the Cowboys could pull the trigger early like they did at the 75-man roster cuts. They could dump 15-18 guys today, and spend the night and tomorrow deciding on the last few.

So I’ll give you some hints as to where I’m going with my roster based on the most challenging positions to fill. But as always, until I put my final chart up, I reserve the right to change my mind.

3rd QB
Do the Cowboys keep a 3rd QB or forgo it in favor of a player at another spot on the roster? If they keep one, it’s got to be Matt Moore, but has he done enough? Right now, I’m leaning toward no. Moore looks to have some potential, but is far too green to be ready right now. He’s done some good things when given the chance, but he also has turned the ball over and looked like a rookie at other times.

Backup CB’s
This one weighs heavily on the minds of the organization and the fans. With the injury to Newman having an open-ended timetable for full-recovery, the Cowboys just aren’t sure how much Newman can play and how effective he will be. Contrary to Jerry Jones’ recent statements, I don’t think anything is assured about Newman. The Cowboys need to think about who will step up in the first weeks of the season, not just who can help them a year or two from now. It turns the position into a "what can you do for me today" instead of a "let’s keep him he has nice potential down the road" situation. I didn’t think any of the corners changed much in the evaluation last night.

6th or 7th WR
Generally I was set on six WR’s on the team, but I admit to considering seven now. The battle is between Jerheme Urban and Miles Austin. The Cowboys like Urban’s potential, they’ve been trying for weeks to get him a role on the team, but he just hadn’t done enough to warrant it. But last night he turned in a performance that makes the decision harder in some respects. A 96-yard punt return for a TD will get a coaching staff’s attention, but fielding a punt at the 4-yard line is not very smart, and later fumbling the ball on offense to set up the other team for a TD also hurts the cause. Miles Austin was very efficient in the passing game last night and had a couple of his best plays wiped-out by another player’s penalties. Both players are making this a tough decision.

There are some other battles going on, like at fullback, where decisions have to be made. There is also the kicking situation, covering for Greg Ellis’ injury, the number of offensive linemen and defensive linemen. All of these work together to create a 53-man roster. Have you started on your predictions? If not, get going and see how difficult it becomes at the last few positions. I promise to have my chart up later today.