The 53-man rosters have been set, reset, shuffled, etc. and the Dallas Cowboys have their men. For now.
CeeDee Lamb, Carlos Watkins and Damontae Kazee have all come off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Conner Williams and Noah Brown are both on there for now but should be ready for the season opener against Tampa Bay.
The team will also be without six players for at least the first three games of the season:
- WR Malik Turner (foot)
- TE Sean McKeon (ankle)
- Kelvin Joseph (groin)
- Neville Gallimore (elbow)
- Francis Bernard (hamstring)
- Josh Ball (ankle)
Thanks to the new COVID rules, the team won’t have to wait as long to potentially see these players return. That does mean though that, for some, their starting/contributing roles will need to be filled.
Some positions have quality depth like linebacker or wide receiver but the Dallas Cowboys are fragile in spots and can’t afford to lose any depth.
The Dallas Cowboys are lucky that they have plenty of quality depth in spots but have a few glaring holes on the roster. The team will go against the Buccaneers with who they’ve got but must address these areas sooner than later.
We were teased all offseason that Garret Gilbert would be the backup quarterback. Instead Cooper Rush won the job, Will Greir was claimed off waivers and Ben DiNucci was signed to the practice squad.
Grier might be an improvement over DiNucci as a backup but compared to Gilbert or Rush, it’s a lateral move. His addition didn’t improve or worsen the backup quarterback position but kept it going in the same direction.
There are other names available that would improve the backup position exponentially. Cam Newton is the obvious move, but having someone unvaccinated in the same vicinity as Dak Prescott, which could impact his availability. If this changes, expect Dallas to be favorites to sign him, but Newton may opt to wait until a team is hit with injuries or COVID that open the doorway to a starting job.
My understanding is the Dallas #Cowboys will do their due diligence in reviewing QB Cameron Newton's newfound availability, per sources.
Will look at it all across the board with additional talent hitting the market, including today.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 31, 2021
Players like Brett Hundley are available in free agency, and players like Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and Jeff Driskel are each on other team’s practice squads who all have starting experience.
Players like Nick Foles and Nate Suddfeld are both QB3 on their team’s depth chart and would be instant upgrades on the Dallas Cowboys but would need to be traded.
In any case, the team needs to do more to improve the depth behind Prescott.
It’s really telling when the team used Connor Williams for much of the preseason as the center behind Tyler Biadasz. Even at times getting snaps with the ones. We saw how that played out as he was inconsistent with the getting his snaps figured out.
The Connor Williams At Center experiment needs to end
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 14, 2021
Even more telling as Connor McGovern is the 6th man of the interior offensive line, actually started multiple games at center while at Penn State, didn’t get any this offseason. Considering he’s easily the next man up on the interior, he’s be shelved as a pure swing-guard.
As Mauricio Rodriguez predicted, Matt Farniok made the roster and is the current backup center, which was a bit of a surprise. He didn’t have a bad preseason, but didn’t stand out as a viable backup. At the moment, he’s a necessary piece.
Given that Farniok and Williams are the apparent options to back up Biadasz, the center position needs more depth.
Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill will both start the season IR, designated to return. However, the Dallas Cowboys only have four defensive tackles on the roster: Osa Odighizuwa, Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins and Quinton Bohanna.
The Dallas Cowboys are heavy at edge rusher. Even with Chauncey Golston cleared to play and adding extra depth as a flexible player, it still leaves the interior needing depth. Depth that’s a little less rusty.
Geno Atkins has been a popular free agent name in the market but likely wouldn’t be added until later in the season if the team lost another player inside.
Justin Hamilton had a great preseason and was brought back onto the practice squad, and is the most likely option. He showed how much he’s grown as a player and was productive in these four games.
And one of my favorite plays from Justin Hamilton was how he let up at the end of this QB hit. Great awareness and heads-up play. Sometimes, it's the little things. pic.twitter.com/KMMLGtDJZq
— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 29, 2021
The team seems content to go light at the heaviest position on the team and hope fully it won’t come back to haunt them. We’ve mentioned before how this team looks ready to break out and it starts up front.
Kelvin Joseph has a high ceiling for the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunatley, the team will have to wait until week 4 at the earliest for his debut. He was put on IR and will have to miss the first 3 games of the season.
Anthony Brown has been the slated starter for month and has been reliable during his time with the team. He came back from injury last year and his versatility and toughness has made him a valuable asset to the team.
However, that leaves the outside cornerback depth thin. Both Jourdan Lewis and Maurice Canady are primarily slot corners, and CJ Goodwin is a corner in name only.
Nahshon Wright is the logical next man up in Joseph’s absence. He made highlights early, but also showed some of his limitations he’s experiencing as a rookie corner. Wright’s played well at times, but has been attacked often as well.
View from the sideline:Rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright with a nice pass breakup during his first @dallascowboys Training Camp practice. He and -Trevon Diggs have looked good today. #CowboysNation pic.twitter.com/HTwGohPE12
— KristiCowboySideline (@KristiCowboy) July 22, 2021
Nahshon Wright 🤦♂️pic.twitter.com/4BhRTdpFfg
— Blue Star Brasil ✭ (@BlueStarBrasil) August 29, 2021
A veteran would be helpful.
The Dallas Cowboys don’t need to give away prime draft capital for someone like Stephon Gilmore but a grabbing someone who the Cowboys could use in Dan Quinn’s system off the street wouldn’t be a bad idea. At least until Kelvin Joseph gets healthy and the rookie’s get better adapted. Richard Sherman possibly?