clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

12 Cowboys Players Who Are Doing Some "Carpe Diem"

As Dallas continues to struggle with injuries, several players are getting a chance to find their personal silver lining by filling the breach.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Carpe diem. "Seize the day". It is a bit of Latin made famous by the late, great, why-did-he-choose-to-do-that Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. There is another saying used around the headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys. It is not as poetic or classic, but it has much the same underlying spirit. Bryan Broaddus used it in a recent edition of his Scout's Eye articles.

In the halls of Valley Ranch the saying is that injury leads to opportunity.

Well, nowadays the Cowboys are hip deep in opportunity. While we are vary aware of the chaos created by all the injury and related problems Dallas is fighting, there are several players that are poised to make the most of the opportunity presented. Some will not quite make it, some will get a brief opportunity as a placeholder for someone working their way back, and a few could turn this into several seasons of NFL success. Here is a not-necessarily inclusive list of 12 current players on the Cowboys' roster who are most likely to seize their own day.

Rolando McClain. If not for the injury to Sean Lee during OTAs, McClain would likely still be retired from the NFL. Now, he is in the mix to become the starting MLB for Dallas. His biggest issue at the moment appears to be conditioning, but even with those struggles he looks to have a very secure roster spot unless Dallas should strike gold in their ongoing search for more linebacker talent. Even if Dallas comes across a surprising talent on the waiver wire, McClain's talent and ability will probably earn him a role with this team for the remainder of the season.

Cameron Lawrence. Had Lee and DeVonte Holloman remained healthy, Lawrence would have been in a shaky position. His value to the team last season was primarily on special teams. When I looked at the roster prior to the OTAs, I figured Lawrence was very much on the bubble with rookies like Anthony Hitchens and Will Smith to contend with. Now Lawrence's chances of hanging on for a second year are greatly improved. And maybe that year will lead to major improvement in his game, which could further extend his career. It is, as someone may once have said, a process.

Anthony Hitchens/Will Smith. Speaking of those rookie linebackers, both are seeing their roles become more important, and for Smith, this may make a huge amount of difference in whether he even makes the team. With the uncertainty about McClain's readiness and ability to become the MLB, Hitchens has now reentered that conversation.

Terrance Mitchell/Tyler Patmon. They are the cornerback versions of Hitchens and Will Smith. At least one of them is likely to benefit from Orlando Scandrick's four game suspension. It may just be for that four-game stretch, but a lot can happen in that time to open up a spot for longer. Especially if you give the coaches some good play.

Kenneth Boatright/Dartwan Bush/Zach Minter/Adewale Ojomo/Caesar Rayford/Martez Wilson. The Cowboys will need at least two players on the line while they wait for DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Spencer to get healthy. Those two players will come from this list, I think, and they would not likely have made the team otherwise, even on a short-term basis.

In addition to several of these players getting roster spots that almost certainly would have been filled if not for injured players, there is another factor in effect. When players sit out with injury, the team still is practicing and playing in pre-season games. Having extra reps with more coaching helps the players become more competitive. Sometimes, as may have happened with Tyler Patmon while Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne were out, a player can make strides in their level of play while showing the coaches something they like.

All 12 players listed above are on the defense, where the injuries have predominantly occurred. But there has been one player on the offense who has certainly grabbed his opportunity and run with it. That is Brandon Weeden, who has already come further in rehabilitating himself than most expected he could ever do.

These are all players that will be worth watching the final two games of the pre-season. Some of them are going to play roles in how this season develops for the Cowboys, because they seized that chance when it presented itself.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys