- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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After cutting veteran safety Patrick Watkins on Monday, the Cowboys still need to release four more players from the 80-man roster. Some teams have done so already, such as the Jets, Bengals and Chiefs.
Dallas has some interesting decisions to make at a few positions, so here's our weekly look at the bubble players.
Outlook: It seems 10 players will earn checks this fall who are offensive linemen. The injury to Sam Young (sprained MCL in right knee that keeps him out three to four weeks) won't hurt his status. Young, Doug Free, Alex Barron, Marc Colombo and Robert Brewster are the tackles in 2010. The inside positions are unsettled somewhat. Bright is a long shot to overtake Phil Costa as the No. 3 center, but McQuistan could make a case for himself if Montrae Holland struggles vs. Miami on Thursday night. But we doubt it.
Outlook: Hurd has done a decent job of catching the ball, but he's not making anybody say, "Hey he should be on the team because he's special." Special teams is the same way. The Cowboys know he can do it, but there are some younger players who have more upside than Hurd. Holley was in the lead to make this team on special teams, but fell off the last two games. The Cowboys should keep five wide receivers. At some point, Dallas might try to trade Hurd for a sixth- or seventh-round pick. If that can't happen, Hurd could be sent home.
Outlook: When Rucker (hamstring) was deemed healthy, he was able to participate in practices and games but he hasn't impressed anyone enough. Sicko had to be convinced to come to training camp, and he should have stayed home. A concussion also slowed his progress. The Cowboys have an interesting decision here because they could keep Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett and then go with two fullbacks. If it happens, Rucker and Sicko will go home. But Sicko could be worth keeping. If he clears waivers, he could move to the practice squad.
Outlook: It's about consistency. McCray had three special teams tackles last week vs. San Diego. So how many did he have vs. Houston on Saturday? Zero. If McCray makes this team, it's because of his special teams work. Barry Church is a better safety than him, and it seems McCray is missing in action against the run. Watkins can still make this team over McCray, but if it's a financial thing, McCray makes $320,000; Watkins will earn $1.17 million. (UPDATE: Watkins was officially cut Monday morning.)
The bubble:Junior Siavii and Josh Brent
Outlook: There are some in the organization that love Brent, but Siavii is a better run stopper and he could move to end if necessary. Siavii, overall, is a better player, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cowboys kept three nose tackles. In 2006, they did. Brent, if he stays, will be inactive on Sundays.
Outlook: Jason and Brandon Williams (not related) will be here, but not without some raised eyebrows. Octavien and Butler played steady, so their spots seem secure. The Cowboys could go with nine linebackers, or maybe 10. If it's 10, who is better: Leon Williams or Brandon Sharpe?