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Cowboys News: Early reactions to final 53-man roster for 2017

Latest Cowboys headlines: QB Cooper Rush is Cowboys' most significant roster move; Cowboys feel better about 2017 roster than 2016; more

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Oakland Raiders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Cooper Rush is Cowboys' most significant roster move - Todd Archer, ESPN
It's not often that teams get their backup QB for a $5,000 signing bonus.

Most significant move: Cooper Rush, an undrafted rookie free agent, is set to be the backup to Dak Prescott. For years, the Cowboys invested heavily in veteran free agents such as Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton as backups to Tony Romo. Now they will go with Rush, who received a $5,000 signing bonus after not getting drafted. Kellen Moore was released Saturday but could rejoin the Cowboys as soon as Sunday if the Cowboys move tight end Rico Gathers to injured reserve. Had they placed Gathers, who is in the concussion protocol, on injured reserve Saturday, he would not have been able to play in 2017. Moore could simply take Gathers’ spot or be signed to the practice squad. Rush had a strong preseason, completing 38 of 51 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns in four games.

After Already Long Journey, Cooper Rush Getting Close To Earning Roster Spot - Kurt Daniels, Dallas Cowboys
This 4,300-word profile on the Cowboys' newest quarterback may be just the thing to dig into on a Sunday morning. An excerpt:

“He’s the right kind of football guy,” says Chris Hall, the Cowboys assistant director of college scouting. “This guy has played a lot. He’s played in championship games, he’s won big games, and he’s got leadership ability. He’s got a lot of those traits you look for in a quarterback.”

“He’s got a good arm, not great, but probably good enough,” says Hall. “But timing and anticipating and things like that can overcome a little bit of arm strength. And (smarts) is imperative. You have to have that at that position. He’s had to know what to do when he did get his chance, otherwise he’d have no chance.”

Cowboys release QB Kellen Moore; could rejoin team Sunday - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer explains that Moore could be back as early as today.

Moore is practice squad eligible but and will likely go back to the active roster.

The Cowboys are considering placing tight end Rico Gathers (concussion) on injured reserve but needed Gathers to be on the 53-man roster Saturday. Moore will not be subject to waivers and could re-sign with the Cowboys in a day.

Cowboys feel better about 2017 roster than 2016 - Drew Davison, Star-Telegram
Jerry and Stephen Jones talked at length about the team on Friday on the radio, running through almost every position group in the process. As the Cowboys went short on the O-line and D-line with just eight player each during final roster cuts, here's what they had to say about those two positions.

“I think I like our depth on our offensive line better than we had back at this time last year, better. We had [Ron] Leary and I thought a lot of Leary. But this [La'el] Collins is playing really good. Boy, he played a game last week; physical, physical game. Although he got those penalties, he wouldn't have got those, I think, in regular-season games. Officiating was really trying to be pointed there. But the point is I like our depth there."

“I think our defense is probably the most improved obviously,” Stephen Jones said. “We put a lot of resources there in terms of draft picks that can — Taco [Charlton] one and then using three picks on defensive backs, the next three out of four picks on defensive backs that I think will make major contributions.

“I think Stephen Paea has actually been a real pleasant surprise. [Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli] knew Stephen well from Chicago and had high hopes for him, but I think he's better than we thought he would be in terms of what he can do in terms of nose tackle and what he can improve on our defense. But I do think once these guys settle in, they get in the groove here this year, I think we've improved a lot on the defensive side of the football, especially when you talk about pressure on the passer as well as making plays on the ball."

Closer Look: Position By Position Breakdown Of Cowboys' 53-Man Roster - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Helman takes a look at the roster. Here's his take on the O-line, where the Cowboys went short:

Eight is not a big number for a position as physical as offensive line, but the Cowboys have done it before – especially with a group this talented. Four of the starting five are set in stone, though the coaching staff still needs to officially determine a starting left guard. This group is all about versatility. Green can play both tackle and guard, while Looney can play center and guard. Byron Bell played four positions – both guard spots and both tackle spots – during training camp.

NFL waiver wire order 2017: Dallas Cowboys have 28th overall priority on waiver wire - OCC, Blogging The Boys
As you are pondering all the players now available to the Cowboys after final roster cuts, best to keep this in mind:

This year, the Cowboys are in a bad position on the waiver wire, thanks to their 13-3 finish last year. If the Cowboys are going to claim anyone off of waivers, almost every other team will have to have passed on that player. The waiver wire order is the original NFL Draft order, and the Cowboys come in at #28 overall.

The Cowboys may put in some waiver claims, but their chances of getting a player are much better if they go after the vested veterans who became free agents with their release.

Appreciation for Anthony Hitchens should grow with absence - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys were apparently looking to sign Hitchens to a contract extension, Archer writes.

I wonder if there will be greater appreciation for linebacker Anthony Hitchens now that he will likely miss the first five games of the season with a tibial plateau fracture. According to the coaches’ stats, Hitchens posted two 100-tackle seasons in his first three years. He is tough and reliable. People were too quick to push him out of the starting lineup for Jaylon Smith at the start of camp. If Hitchens had remained healthy, there was no chance Smith would have been the starter. Hitchens has long been underappreciated by folks outside the organization. Not so inside the organization -- there have been talks about trying to sign him to an extension at some point this season.


Classy message from your newest Cowboy:

Five things about the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster for 2017 season - Dawn Macelli, Blogging The Boys
Macelli shares some initial thoughts on the the Benwikere acquisition.

The Bene Benwikere trade was a solid move

Benwikere is not the guy who is going to come to town and transform the defense, but he is a solid depth guy who can make a play at a critical juncture. He has done that in the league, during his time in Carolina. While he had not developed as it was once hoped, he does bring talent and health to a team that is looking to revitalize a defensive secondary that has needed a shot in the arm for the past few seasons.

The Cowboys knew that he was not going to make the final 53 in Cincinnati and they felt he would not make it to them on waivers. The Bengals got a conditional draft pick in exchange for a veteran corner with some starting experience. It was a win for everyone involved.

Dallas gets some low cost insurance for the secondary, Cincy gets something out of a player they were going to waive, and Benwikere gets a chance to play for a contender.


Pressure for Ezekiel Elliott ruling by Monday - Dan Shefter & Dan Graziano, ESPN
Harold Henderson is reportedly "under pressure" to have a ruling in place by Monday.

NFL appeals officer Harold Henderson is under pressure to have a decision on Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott's appeal of his six-game suspension by Monday, a source told ESPN.

The appeals hearing began Tuesday and ended Thursday.

Every day Ezekiel Elliott vs. the NFL lingers, the league's PR disaster grows - Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay
Sherrington takes a look at how the NF has responded to the attacks from the NFLPA and Elliott.

NFL types have counterattacked, arguing that Roberts' views were well known to the commissioner.

But is that really good enough, if not in a court of law, then in the court of public opinion? Doesn't it lend itself to accusations that you already had your mind made up, and no dissenting opinion would talk you out of it?

Better question: Did the commissioner take a slam-bang case and wreck it?

Will Ezekiel Elliott’s suit become landmark case to topple NFL’s authority on discipline? - Jarrett Bell, USA Today
Bell explains that Elliott’s lawsuit has added twist to NFL's appeal process, and stops just short of calling the process a Kangaroo court.

Courts typically don’t supersede what’s been negotiated through collective bargaining. Yet, given semantics and interpretation, the NFLPA is undoubtedly hoping this will be the landmark case that wins against long odds because that very labor deal references “credible evidence” as part of a fair process.

The NFL, in crafting and executing its own personal conduct and domestic violence policies, now has its own investigative wing, which flows into Goodell’s justice system. The Elliott case, though, illustrates just how difficult it can be to pull off its own investigative branch (with no subpoena power, mind you) for the purpose of feeding a credible system for discipline. It may sound good on paper, but in a practical sense the NFL looks silly trying to run its own court system without allowing for a fair process that includes basics such as the accused facing his accuser or a legitimate discovery process.


Why Cowboys-Giants is TV's greatest sports rivalry ... and Sunday night opener might be season's most critical game for both - Barry Horn, SportsDay
Horn explains why Cowboys-Giants is such a draw.

In the wide world of television sports there is no greater rivalry than the Cowboys-New York Giants. You can line up the likes of Yankees-Red Sox, Warriors-Cavaliers, Alabama-Auburn or Duke-North Carolina in any order behind the Cowboys-Giants, TV's No. 1 ratings magnet.

On a conference call the other day, Al Michaels, the play-by-play voice of SNF, was asked what makes the Cowboys-Giants so appetizing?

"When you look at the ratings through the years, we can't get enough Cowboy games. You've seen that through the decades. So the Giants and the Cowboys, great rivals, same division; Terrific way to open up the season. It's just exciting. When they get together, it sings. When people say to me on the street or airport or whatever, 'What is the game next week,' and I say, 'Giants-Cowboys,' they go, 'Yeah.' It's a lot different than talking about some of the other match-ups."