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Friday, December 21, 2012
Pondering the 46: Heavy with defensive backs

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys can attest, injuries play a large part when pondering the 46-man gameday roster. So does the opponent.

With New Orleans bringing the second-ranked pass offense in the NFL, the Cowboys will likely have to counter by having all nine defensive backs available with Morris Claiborne returning from a one-week absence due to a concussion.

Five inactives appear to be a lock: Jay Ratliff, David Arkin, Darrion Weems, Kevin Kowalski and Phillip Tanner.

Who are the final two?

Last week against Pittsburgh the Cowboys dressed all six wide receivers, but that might be a luxury they cannot afford this week. To me, that puts the final couple spots down to the defensive line, wide receiver and linebacker.

I’d rather see Brian Schaefering over Robert Callaway along the defensive line. Linebacker could be a question, so if they go there that final spot comes down to Brady Poppinga and Kyle Wilber. Since Poppinga started last week and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan used more of a 4-3 look vs. Pittsburgh, he gets the edge. At wide receiver, Anthony Armstrong was active last week but didn’t play an offensive snap, so he’s inactive this week in my book.