This can’t be the roster that the Dallas Cowboys will use on opening day against the New York Giants. There has to be help on the way. If not, Wade Phillips is counting on healthy Cowboys at key positions, and some of those Cowboys haven’t practiced in a while and none are sure bets for the first game. This roster strategy is fraught with risk as it currently stands. The more I look at it, the more I believe that it will change over the next few days. I am hoping that the Dallas brass already had a couple of moves lined up, either trades or free agents.
On offense, I don’t have any reservations about the players they kept, except Joe Berger. They could have gotten by without him and kept someone they let go.
It’s on defense where this roster doesn’t make sense. The defensive line and the inside linebackers were pretty much as expected, but at outside linebacker and in the defensive secondary the Cowboys are betting that injuries won’t play a role early in the season. From what we’ve seen so far, that seems like a long shot.
Cutting Junior Glymph left the Cowboys with two starting outside linebackers, a backup who hasn’t practiced all training camp and is close to being ruled out of the first game, and another backup who splits time at inside linebacker. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are sure to play, but I don’t think anybody but Wade Phillips believes that Greg Ellis will be able to go next Sunday and be effective. That leaves only part-timer Bobby Carpenter as a backup. Add into the mix that Kevin Burnett will be questionable at best after surgery; Carpenter might have to spend a lot of time in the middle, too. If anybody got hurt we’d be toast. There has to be a LB on the way from somewhere.
In the secondary, I don’t really get the logic of keeping six safeties when cornerback is the real trouble spot. Keep either Abram Elam or Courtney Brown, but do you really need both, especially with the lack of depth at cornerback? Our star corner is suffering from an injury with an unknown timetable for recovery. The Cowboys have no idea how Terence Newman’s foot will react at full speed in a game. Yet they are one false step away from starting Jacques Reeves and using Nate Jones as the nickel corner. Nate Jones - who barely played this preseason. Does the configuration of Anthony Henry, Reeves and Jones inspire confidence? Courtney Brown isn’t a corner possibility; Wade Phillips explicitly said so at a press conference last week, and there is no way I trust Alan Ball. There has to be a cornerback with experience on the way.
Wade Phillips is truly rolling the dice early in his Cowboys tenure if this is his final 53 for next Sunday. The injuries to Greg Ellis and Terence Newman are the kind that could linger or get worse over time, or could turn disastrous with one bad step. Kevin Burnett’s injury puts extra pressure on the linebacker corps early, which is dangerously thin. Behind Terence Newman and Anthony Henry are three guys of varying degrees of practice experience but without any substantial game experience. Not like they would be called on to provide if Newman had to sit out for any amount of time.
Please, someone call 1-800-linebacker and someone else call 1-800-cornerback.