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With the 53-man roster set, here are the 3 biggest concerns for the Cowboys

The team still has a few weaknesses that could be a problem down the stretch.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Chargers Joint Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys set their 53-man roster on Tuesday, and while more changes are coming, we now have a sense of the cast of characters that will make up this 2022 team. There are some areas where they are rather deep, like say, the defensive line, but there are others where the depth is a little thin. Today, we’re going to look at the three biggest areas of concern from the Cowboys new roster.


This dead horse has been beaten so badly that we’re all tired of hearing about how bad of shape this offensive line is, but this is a problem we can’t escape. The level of uneasiness is as concerning as that used sour cream container in your refrigerator on the cusp of its expiration date. It’s it going to be okay? Should we risk it?

It feels like it's just a matter of time before we’re all sick to our stomachs as we watch Dak Prescott run for his life, or we watch a 2nd-and-7 turn into a 3rd-and-18, or we hear “holding, number 73...holding, number 73...holding, number 73” until it becomes unbearable. The Cowboys appear to be content with the rookie Tyler Smith protecting Dak’s blindside and then rolling with one of their young swing guys should one of their starters get hurt. Neither Josh Ball nor Matt Waletzko has taken a snap in the NFL.

Having two young swing tackle candidates who are not ready to play means the Tyron Smith injury has a domino effect. It pulls Smith out to left tackle, which by itself is risky. He’s a first-round draft pick, but he’s also a guy who struggled with technique in college and didn’t look ready to protect the edge at the NFL level. Now, he’s dealing with a high ankle sprain, so his mobility could suffer until he’s fully recovered.

The second part of Smith having to play tackle is that Connor McGovern becomes the team’s starting left guard. He’s had a good camp and while improvement has been noticed, we can’t help wondering how that entire left wing of the Cowboys starting offensive line looks a little shaky starting from center Tyler Biadasz.

The team is trying to bring reinforcements in to help as 40-year-old veteran Jason Peters is the hot commodity right now, but even with his help, the Cowboys offensive line may very well be the team’s Achilles heel this season.


The Cowboys were extremely fortunate in the luck department as none of their three starting cornerbacks last year missed a game due to injury. Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis made it through the entire year unscathed, although Lewis did miss their Week 16 game against Washington as he was on the COVID list. Diggs and Brown also missed one game each as they were both healthy scratches in the Week 18 finale against Philadelphia.

The Cowboys have all three back this year, although Brown is in the final year of his contract. They are hoping some of their recent draft picks can start to show their value as they have selected three new players within the past two drafts. Kelvin Joseph (second round) and Nahshon Wright (third round) were selected last year and DaRon Bland (fifth round) was taken back in April.

Oddly enough, it is the more inexperienced Bland who has impressed the most this training camp. He has shown up several times in preseason games and looks to be the team’s top reserve corner. Part of that is just good play from Bland, but part of it is also the underwhelming play of Joseph and Wright. Joseph wasn’t terrible, but it’s just hard to find many plays where he was in the correct position to make a pass break up. And when it comes to Wright, he struggled immensely as he was burnt over and over during the course of three preseason games. The depth might allow them to sustain the loss of one player, but if it cuts deeper than that, the Cowboys could be in trouble.


The Cowboys have been without a good kicker for the past five seasons, and that includes Dan Bailey’s last year on the team as he battled injuries and only made 75% of his field goals, a career-low for him at the time. The team replaced Bailey with a surprise roster move at the beginning of 2018, giving the job to Brett Maher. And while it was amazing to see him launch some big kicks (holds the Cowboys record for their three longest kicks), he struggled with the easier ones. In his two seasons at Dallas, Maher was 66% (10 of 15) on kicks 50 yards or longer, but that dropped to just 50% (8 of 16) on kicks from 40-49 yards. That’s so weird.

After coming off his worst season as a pro, Greg Zuerlein was not re-signed by the Los Angeles Rams in 2020, allowing the Cowboys to scoop him up. Unfortunately, that didn’t go all that great either. Zuerlein was better overall in field goals than Maher, finishing with a conversion rate of 82.9% in both of his seasons with Dallas, but he couldn’t hit an extra point to save his life. In his two seasons with the Cowboys, Zuerlein missed nine extra points. That’s just insane.

After failed tryouts from rookie Jonathan Garibay and veteran Lirim Hajrullahu, the team is back to depending on the leg of Maher. He finished off camp well and was solid in the preseason, so who knows. All signs are pointing to another adventurous season in the kicking department for the Cowboys.

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