At some point Saturday, it was expected that the Cowboys would release either Kenwin Cummings or Orie Lemon. But when they elected to cut both players Saturday they raised some eyebrows. After all, the Cowboys now have only three inside linebackers on the roster — Sean Lee, Bradie James and Keith Brooking.
The Cowboys’ lack of depth at the position could be a problem going forward. Brooking is 35 and he missed most of training camp with a hamstring strain. Lee, meanwhile, has a history of injuries. Before the 2008 season, when he was still playing at Penn State, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.Then, during his rookie campaign with the Cowboys, he hurt his shoulder, hamstring and quadriceps while also suffering a concussion.
With second-round pick Bruce Carter yet to make his debut at practice as he continues to recover from the left-knee injury he incurred last year, the Cowboys don’t have many options to turn to if either Lee, James or Brooking are sidelined at some point in the future.
That’s cause for concern as the Cowboys approach their season opener Sept. 11 against the New York Jets.
TBAB Note: Expect Dallas to address this issue from waiver wire in the next few days.
With the 4 1/2-month NFL lockout in the off-season, NFL teams didn’t have organized team activities (OTAs) or mini-camps. That meant rookies didn’t get a chance to learn the Cowboys’ offense and defense and develop.
With that in mind, the logic was that not many undrafted rookie free agents would land on NFL rosters. Some NFL teams didn’t have any undrafted rookie free agents make the team. The Cowboys ended up with four: center Kevin Kowalski (Toledo), kicker Dan Bailey (Oklahoma State ), running back Phillip Tanner (Middle Tennessee) from Kimball and linebacker Alex Albright (Boston College).
Of course, that might say more about the lack of quality depth on the Cowboys’ roster than anything else. The Cowboys remain a top-heavy team, with six or seven players who are among the best in the NFL, but after that it’s quite a big dropoff for a lot of positions.
Programs will be needed even more for next Sunday’s regular-season opener. Not only did the Cowboys waive 27 veterans on Saturday, but six players who made the team have switched jersey numbers.
Among those were starters Kenyon Coleman, who moved from 98 to 99, previously worn by Igor Olshansky, who was cut Saturday.
Abram Elam switched from 24 to 26, a number worn by rookie cornerback Josh Thomas. And rookie tailback Phillip Tanner is now wearing 24, moving down from 34.
Rookie receiver Dwayne Harris moved from 14 to 17, rookie linebacker Bruce Carter went from 53 to 54, while rookie outside linebacker Alex Albright is now wearing 55, switching from 47. Albright was the only player among these six that had to switch numbers to comply with NFL numbering rules, stating that linebackers can only wear numbers in the 50s and 90s.
IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys constructed their 53-man roster on Saturday. By no means is it final.
The team trimmed 27 players from the 80-man preseason roster, including 26 cuts. Wide receiver Raymond Radway, who had surgery early Friday for a fractured tibia and fibula, has been moved to injured reserve.
Things can change soon, though, as hundreds of released players pass through waivers over the next 24 hours.
“Our personnel people do a great job knowing the drafted players coming out and then knowing where guys are on rosters throughout the league,” head coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week. “We track those guys and if some players come available that we think can help our team, we’re certainly willing to make those moves.”
Notable cuts include veteran defensive end Igor Olshansky; 2011 draft picks Josh Thomas and Shaun Chapas; and former draft picks Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (2010) and Brandon Williams (2009). The Cowboys kept two kickers (David Buehler, Dan Bailey) but only three inside linebackers (Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Sean Lee).
The team will soon sign an eight-man practice squad, which should include several of their own eligible cuts.
Position by position, let’s take a closer look at the initial 53:
Summary:Same group as last year, with McGee taking another step forward in his development. The Cowboys liked Tom Brandstater, but there’s no room for four QBs. McGee’s reps will be scarce enough on the scout team.
Running Back (4)
Summary:Team owner/GM Jerry Jones hinted at a heavy running back group. He was right, with Tanner joining Murray and Choice behind starter Felix Jones. But the Cowboys don’t have a fullback right now because they cut Chapas, Chris Gronkowski, Jason Pociask and Isaiah Greenhouse.
Wide Receiver (5)
Summary:Harris and Holley made the team with strong preseason performances. Radway was pushing both of them before his injury.
Tight End (4)
Summary:Bennett seems doubtful for the opener due to a high ankle sprain, so Rucker adds depth and another pass-catcher. Phillips is a steady and versatile backup to Witten.
Offensive Line (10)
Summary:Not really surprising that the Cowboys went heavy here, keeping both backup tackles Young and Parnell. They’re committed to developing young guys. Kowalski’s performance against Minnesota was impressive, and he adds depth at center aside from Kosier as an emergency option.
Defensive Line (7)
Summary:The team kept a fifth defensive end (Geathers) for depth, particularly with Marcus Spears coming off a groin injury. Youth served again, with Lissemore and Geathers pushing out Olshansky.
Summary:Second-round inside linebacker Bruce Carter (knee) will start the season on the Non-Football Injury list, but the Cowboys only kept three ILBs. Cummings’ release is a bit of a surprise. Another 2009 draft pick disappears; Williams loses his spot to Albright, who was more active on defense and special teams.
Summary:The Cowboys certainly needed a fifth corner (McCann) with Newman and Jenkins missing all of preseason. Scandrick and Ball could play a lot in the opener.
Summary:Tough call on Owusu-Ansah, who has talent and lost most of his rookie year to injury. But Church and McCray add so much on special teams.
Summary: Bailey will likely handle place kicks to start the season, with Buehler the kickoff threat from the 35-yard line. Apparently the Cowboys weren’t committed to guaranteeing the salaries for veteran kickers Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner.
The team placed the following player on the Reserve/Injured list:
RELATED: Seven starters cut from 2010 Cowboys 6-10 team
They join Leonard Davis, Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, and Andre Gurode.