IRVING, Texas – The 2014 Dallas Cowboys roster for Week 1 against San Francisco is bound to look change. But for the time being, this is the team’s 53-man roster – a group that has several surprising additions and subtractions, particularly at quarterback.
Quarterback (3): Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden, Dustin Vaughan – It’s been a topic of conversation all summer that Dustin Vaughan may have done enough to earn a job in Dallas, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see him make the final roster. With so many other needs, it says a lot about what the Cowboys think of the rookie to keep him on the 53-man squad.
Running Back (4): DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Tyler Clutts – The debate throughout training camp was whether the Cowboys would keep three running backs and a fullback, or four running backs. Clutts got the nod over Ryan Williams (added to practice squad), who was one of the last players cut from the roster. Clutts’ abilities on special teams might have been the deciding factor.
Wide Receiver (5): Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Devin Street – LaRon Byrd and Jamar Newsome made a late push to earn consideration on the final roster, but the numbers weren’t in their favor. It’s likely that one or both of them will get practice squad consideration if they clear waivers.
Tight End (3): Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna – This time last year the Dallas Cowboys kept a whopping five tight ends as a sign of commitment to using “12,” or two-tight end personnel packages. There never seemed to be any doubt that only the trio of All-Pro Witten and recent draft picks Escobar and Hanna would make the cut this year.
Offensive Line (9): Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Jermey Parnell, Darrion Weems, Donald Hawkins – Maybe the biggest surprise here is the decision to part ways with veteran starter Uche Nwaneri. He never made a push for starting time, but it seemed likely the Dallas native would provide reliable depth. John Wetzel, a practice squad player in 2013, did enough to earn an initial spot on the 53-man roster, but he was cut when the Dallas Cowboys got Hawkins off waivers.
Defensive Line (11): Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey, George Selvie, Tyrone Crawford, Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Lawrence, Nick Hayden, Terrell McClain , Davon Coleman, Ken Bishop, Lavar Edwards – A deadline day trade brings Edwards, an LSU product, to the team from the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys gave up an undisclosed 2015 draft pick for the defensive end. That should give the Cowboys some breathing room, as the trade gives Dallas four defensive ends on the roster while they wait for Spencer to get healthy. DeMarcus Lawrence will likely be moved to injured reserve later this week, but must be on the active roster at the deadline.
Linebacker (6): Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, Rolando McClain, Kyle Wilber, Anthony Hitchens, Cameron Lawrence – The Cowboys opted to release seventh-round pick Will Smith (added to practice squad), who was hampered by a groin injury for the early going of training camp. It looks likely that the top five in this group are going to see extended playing time, regardless of who the starters are. Cameron Lawrence is a core special teamer.
Defensive Back (9): Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore, Tyler Patmon, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Ahmad Dixon, Jemea Thomas –The suspensions of Orlando Scandrick and Jakar Hamilton have the position looking a bit different from what many initially thought. Jemea Thomas, the recently-signed Patriots castoff, can play both cornerback and safety – which helps offset the need for a 10th defensive back. For all the talk about him during camp, Terrance Mitchell’s problems with holding look likely to have doomed his roster chances. It will be interesting to see where the roster cut comes when Scandrick returns to the roster in Week 5.
RELATED: 2014 Dallas Cowboys Practice Squad taking shape
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys signed seven players to their practice squad tonight (Sunday), giving them three remaining places on the 10-man group.
The current signees are running back Ryan Williams, wide receiver Tim Benford, defensive end Kenneth Boatright, center Ronald Patrick, safety Micah Pellerin, linebacker Keith Smith, and linebacker Will Smith.
Williams is the biggest name of the seven, as he was in a battle for the third running back spot throughout training camp – eventually losing to 2013 draft pick Joseph Randle. The Cowboys released him Saturday afternoon, and he cleared waivers today.
This is Benford’s third go-around on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He was signed undrafted by Dallas out of Tennessee Tech, and he spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons on the practice squad. He was released from the team’s 75-man roster earlier this week in favor of defensive back Jemea Thomas.
Three of the signees are rookies who spent training camp with the Cowboys, highlighted by seventh-round pick Will Smith. The Texas Tech product sat out the early portion of camp with a groin injury, but returned to action for the last few weeks of the preseason. Keith Smith and Patrick both signed with the team as undrafted free agents.
Boatright is actually a second-year player, but he is in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys. He signed undrafted with the Seahawks following the 2013 draft, and he spent his rookie season on injured reserve. The Seahawks cut Boatright in June, and the Cowboys added him to their 90-man roster after DeMarcus Lawrence broke his foot during training camp.
This is a familiar landing spot for Pellerin, as he has spent two stints on the Cowboys practice squad – at the tail end of the 2012 season and following training camp in 2013. The Cowboys added him to the active roster in November 2013 and released him three weeks later. The team brought him back at the end of this week and have added him to the practice squad.
There are three spaces remaining on the practice squad as the Cowboys get set to start their Week 1 preparations for San Francisco tomorrow (Monday).
RELATED: Saturday’s initial roster cut-down and DE Lavar Edwards trade
IRVING, Texas– The Dallas Cowboys met the NFL’s roster-deduction deadline by trimming the roster down to 53 players yesterday. Don’t expect this to be the final roster. There could be as many as a handful of moves made before the Cowboys return to the practice field to start preparations for the 49ers.
The Cowboys have been known to claim a few players off waivers on Sunday after the cuts. They’ve already made one trade, acquiring defensive end Lavar Edwards (6-4, 280) from the Titans for an undisclosed draft pick in 2015. Edwards, a fifth-round pick of the Titans in 2013, played in seven games for Tennessee last year as a rookie.
The most notable of the players initially cut include running back Ryan Williams (added to practice squad), a former second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2011 who flashed some strong running ability in three preseason games before a groin injury kept him out of last Thursday’s game. The Cowboys simply couldn’t afford to go long at running back and Joseph Randle gives them more flexibility on special teams. For now, the Cowboys kept fullback Tyler Clutts on the team, as did rookie quarterback Dustin Vaughan.
The Dallas Cowboys got some good news when Anthony Spencer passed his physical and was not placed on PUP. He likely won’t play this week against the 49ers but clearly the Cowboys feel like he will be ready before the six-week period he would’ve been required to miss if placed on PUP.
The Cowboys also released a pair of vets – guard Uche Nwaneri and wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe. Neither player has to go through the waiver process because of their veteran status.
Other noteworthy cuts include a pair seventh-round picks – cornerback Terrance Mitchell and linebacker Will Smith (signed to the practice squad). Mitchell had a solid training camp but struggled in coverage during the preseason games.
Other cuts include wide receivers Jamar Newsome and LaRon Byrd, offensive linemen Stephen Goodin, Ronald Patrick and Josh Aladenoye. Tight end Asa Watson, linebackers Dontavis Sapp, Orie Lemon and Keith Smith, safety Ryan Smith, running backs D.J. Adams and Phillip Tanner and defensive linemen Dartwan Bush and Kenneth Boatwright were also cut. However, the Cowboys could put rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on the IR-return list on Tuesday. That would sideline Lawrence for eight weeks but free up a roster spot.
Here’s a look at the roster moves the Cowboys have made so far on Saturday:
|WR Desmon Briscoe (Kansas)||G Uche Nwaneri (Purdue)|
|RB D.J. Adams (Portland State)||T Josh Aladenoye (Illinois State)|
|DE Kenneth Boatright (Southern Illinois)||DT Dartwan Bush (Texas Tech)|
|WR LaRon Byrd (Miami)||G Stephen Goodin (Nebraska-Kearney)|
|CB Terrance Mitchell (Oregon)||WR Jamar Newsome (Central Florida)|
|C Ronald Patrick (South Carolina)||DE Caesar Rayford (Washington)|
|LB Dontavis Sapp (Tennessee)||LB Keith Smith (San Jose State)|
|S Ryan Smith (Auburn)||LB Will Smith (Texas Tech)|
|RB Phillip Tanner (Middle Tennessee)||TE Asa Watson (North Carolina State)|
|RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)|
|LB Orie Lemon (Oklahoma State)||DT Zach Minter (Montana State)|
|CB Orlando Scandrick (Boise State)||S Jakar Hamilton (South Carolina State)|
Acquired in a trade with Tennessee:
|Lavar Edwards (Louisiana State) for an undisclosed 2015 Draft pick|
DE Anthony Spencer (Purdue)
RELATED SCOUTING REPORT: Meet your new DE Lavar Edwards
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys acquired Lavar Edwards in a trade with the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. Edwards was a fifth-round pick in 2013 and spent a season with Tennessee. Here’s the scouting report on some of his pro tape.
Games Studied: Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco ’13; Green Bay ‘14
- Edwards was drafted to play as a 4-3 defensive end and not in the current 3-4 scheme that Tennessee defensive coordinator Ray Horton likes to use.
- Has played as both the left and right defensive end during his career. Feel like that he is better suited to play on the left side for the Dallas Cowboys.
- Physically doesn’t appear to be a big player on tape, but you will see him extend with his hands and control the blocker. Will sit down and try to fight his man one-on-one. His hand use was much better playing the run than the pass.
- There were snaps where he was able to anchor down at the point of attack and force the ball back inside to his teammates. Wasn’t as good in the Seattle game dealing with Paul McQuistan, who got after him pretty good but overall was able to strike and shed in the running game.
- Would not say his initial quickness or burst is special. Was expecting more from him in this area. His pursuit speed and lateral quickness were just okay. There were times where he looked like he was running hard but not covering much ground. There were some plays that he could have made running from the backside had he had a burst.
- He plays with football intelligence and discipline. Was solid with his techniques against the Seahawks when defending the read-option. Did a nice job of staying square and forcing Russell Wilson to have to keep the ball only for a short gain. Was able to execute the same techniques against the 49ers. Did a nice job of playing on his feet and using body control.
- If there is an area that he could use improvement in, it is as a pass rusher. Needs to win right off the snap in order to have a chance to have success. Needs more initial quickness along with counter moves as he is going up the field. He’s an average rusher when he doesn’t try moves. Only sack happened in the preseason against the Packers while playing reduced over the guard and went with a quick arm over.
- Too many snaps where he would go up the field engage the blocker and fight in once spot. Even with the strength that he showed playing the run it was hard for him to get rid of his man. Thought there needed to be much more finish to his rush.
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