With the constant parade of new names on the roster for the Dallas Cowboys, it seems like most of the original 53-man roster announced way back on August 31st must be gone. Actually, a total of nine names from that first list have since left the team, but 17% of your roster turning over by the halfway point of the season does appear to be an unusually large number. It feels like even more, because several players have landed with the team for a week or two, only to depart to make room for someone the staff thinks is more able to help the team.
Another list from long ago is the original eight man practice squad. If, as is being reported, Micah Pellerin is signed to the active roster before this week's game against the Minnesota Vikings, then only three of those original PS members will still be with the squad.
Unlike many of the players who are no longer on the 53-man roster, almost all of the practice squad players who have left had done so the best way possible. Like Pellerin, Cameron Lawrence, Jakar Hamilton and Jason Vega all got their chance to move up. Vega did not last, being cut to make room for Everette Brown, but for now, the rest are still part of the plans for the team, at least in the short term.
Pellerin is looking forward to the opportunity.
In a 14-word sentence, he used the word "excited" five times.
The Cowboys will call up Pellerin from the practice squad officially on Saturday.
It is interesting to see which players the Cowboys are pulling from the PS, and which ones are coming in from outside the organization. Although Vega was brought up from the squad, most of the defensive linemen have come from the street, via the scouting department. Of the three former PS players that will be on the field on Sunday, two of them, Pellerin and Hamilton, are defensive backs. Given that Rod Marinelli's approach to his Rushmen is based on a few key traits, like getting a good burst off the line and relentless pursuit of the ball, it looks like practice squad is a bit of a training ground for plug-and-play defensive backs. They would logically need more time learning the job than the linemen, so having a couple of months experience working with the coaches is a big plus. They, and Lawrence, will also likely have key assignments on the special teams units, which means they will be part of the defense against Cordarrelle Patterson, the very dangerous kickoff return specialist profiled by Dawn Macelli earlier.
It may be a good game to get the new faces more acclimated to game day situations, with the troubled situation the Vikings have at quarterback. Christian Ponder was benched when the team signed Josh Freeman, and now he is having to start while Freeman is still learning the offense and recovering from a concussion after he was thrown to the wolves in his first game with Minnesota.
Pellerin is also another UDFA signing, although he was originally picked up by the Green Bay Packers. However, no one will complain if he becomes another undrafted success story for the Cowboys. Even if he just provides some short term backup help, he will justify his inclusion as part of the practice squad, which is often a stepping stone to a job on Sundays. Especially in Dallas.