Sitting at 2-7, the Dallas Cowboys have two options. They could pull their head in and just try to get to the draft with a high pick and build for 2016, or they could buckle down, rely on the return of Tony Romo to give them a spark, and do everything they can to claw and fight their way back to the top of the NFC East.
It seems obvious that hunkering down and writing this season off is not in their DNA. The front office made three moves on Tuesday, one very predictable, one somewhat unexpected, and one completely surprising. Taken together, they show that the team is not just relying on their star quarterback, but are doing everything they can to have the best chance possible to make an historic run.
The first move announced was the waiver of quarterback Brandon Weeden. The handwriting was on the wall once Matt Cassel replaced him as the interim starter. Although Cassel was no more successful than Weeden in scratching out a win during Romo's absence, he did appear to have a better set of tools. The team has now committed to him as the backup quarterback for at least the remainder of the season.
Two more players were dismissed later in the day, running back Christine Michael and cornerback Corey White. Michael had not seen much action, and was generally unimpressive when he was on the field. Cutting him means the Cowboys have lost the seventh-round draft pick they sent to the Seattle Seahawks for him with no real return. It makes his acquisition a mistake, but at a fairly low cost. Bringing him to Dallas was a bit of a desperation move driven by the issues the team had with Joseph Randle, who eventually was waived himself. Now the team is putting its faith in Rod Smith and Trey Williams to back up Darren McFadden at running back. The logical conclusion is that the coaches see things with Smith and Williams that they did not with Michael. Given the fact he never was given many carries and had limited effectiveness, it is not a total shock.
White was much more of a surprise. He had seemed to do well on the field, and with Morris Claiborne nicked up, his waiver has to indicate that the coaching staff found him lacking in ways that were not evident to most of us. One possible clue was noted, however.
Last thing I remember about White was him kinda hanging around on the periphery of some tackles-notable for not being in the Rod-style of D— Adam McC (@TwoBitWhackJob) November 17, 2015
The Cowboys now are showing three open spots on the 5- man roster. One of them will be filled by Romo when he is activated, which does not have to happen until later this week. There was discussion on Twitter that one of the spots might be for linebacker Mark Nzeocha, but according to the roster at DallasCowboys.com, he is already one of the 50 players currently active, although that does not seem to have been officially announced. Another name that looks to be in play is offensive tackle and semi-myth Chaz Green, who was reported to have been working at multiple spots on the line in recent practices as the team considers activating him from the non-football injury list.
That leaves room for at least one more player to be added, and the Nzeocha and Green moves are not set in stone. They may plan on poaching someone from a practice squad, or perhaps have their eyes on some free agents. It keeps things interesting. Whatever occurs, it is clear that the team is still all in to make as much of this season as it can. And Romo certainly did not leave any doubt about where he stands when he won Twitter earlier. (I know this has already been put up earlier here, but can you really see it too many times?)
Brass ones. Solid brass.