As had been expected since the Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Tony Romo was placed on injured reserve on Christmas Day. Joining him was Gavin Escobar, who tore his Achilles tendon against the New York Jets and has already undergone surgery. That left Dallas with two open roster spots, and they gave a very nice Christmas present to two practice squad players. Quarterback Jameill Showers and defensive tackle Casey Walker were promoted to the 53-man roster.
The final two games for the Cowboys now have the most value as a way to evaluate players who may have a future role with the team. Making the roster for at least this week would indicate that Showers and Walker are both players that have shown something to intrigue the coaching staff. Although neither player may actually make the 46-man active roster, the team might want to put them in and hold back some other players who are less than 100 per cent healthy.
Showers is an interesting player, because he is seen as much as a special teams player as a quarterback. While the Cowboys have some serious questions to answer about the future of the position, the final two games are expected to focus on Kellen Moore running things. Showers may get a shot to play on teams. He has shown a willingness to do whatever the team asks of him in order to improve his chances of sticking with the club. In practices, he is also used as a defensive back and wide receiver on the scout team. There has been no open discussion of switching positions with him, but at 6-1 and 230 lbs, he does have a nice size for working in the secondary. It is not to say that he has the required skills, but his reputation as a very good athlete does make you want to speculate. He also did show some skills when he played quarterback in the preseason, so the team may just want to find a way to keep him around in order to see how he might develop. A couple of game checks at the end of the season is also a very nice way to reward him for his selfless work on the practice squad.
Walker may be the more interesting player, however. He is also 6-1, but goes a massive 340 lbs. The Cowboys do not have anyone else who has that kind of ideal size for a run-stuffing 1-tech DT. Given that Tyrone Crawford has been fighting through a shoulder problem all season, there may be a chance that the team will rest Crawford or at least limit his snaps opening a spot in the defensive tackle rotation. And the coming game against the Buffalo Bills is a perfect time to find out, given that the Bills have the highest rushing total and the third-highest rushing attempts in the league. They depend heavily on the run and would be a great test to see if Walker can hold his ground in the middle.
Whether or not they see the field, both Showers and Walker now will have making the 53-man roster with Dallas on their resumes. That alone made it a very merry Christmas for both of them.