Vol. III: 53-man roster projection

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
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We tried not to knee-jerk too much after a 3-0 preseason win, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

This week's 53-man roster projection, where we went a little lighter at QB and OL and beefed up at DL and S:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Tony Romo
Kyle Orton
Why keep Stephen McGee? That roster spot can be used for a young player with some potential at another position. Rudy Carpenter or another QB can be signed to the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (3)
DeMarco Murray
Felix Jones
Phillip Tanner
There aren’t any running backs who are really taking advantage of Tanner’s absence due to a broken hand. The bigger concern with the backs: Can Felix Jones still be a dynamic threat in a change-of-pace role?

FULLBACKS (1)
Lawrence Vickers
Jason Garrett would love to have 53 guys with Vickers’ toughness and attitude.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
Jason Witten
John Phillips
James Hanna
Hanna’s blocking has been better than anticipated while Phillips nurses a sprained ankle. It’s a stretch to say Hanna is pushing for the No. 2 role, but he can create a niche for himself as a rookie.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)
Miles Austin
Dez Bryant
Veteran TBD
Andre Holmes
Cole Beasley
Danny Coale
Asked if he was confident the third receiver was already on the roster, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson paused for several seconds and suggested that “hopeful” was a better word. Enough said. Just don’t hold your breath for a big name.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
Tyron Smith
Doug Free
Nate Livings
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Phil Costa
David Arkin
Jermey Parnell
Ronald Leary
Derrick Dockery
It’s safe to assume the Cowboys will scour the waiver wire searching for a center and/or guard. Just don’t expect them to find a starter.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7)
Jay Ratliff
Jason Hatcher
Sean Lissemore
Marcus Spears
Tyrone Crawford
Josh Brent
Clifton Geathers
Spears and fellow veteran Kenyon Coleman are probably fighting for a roster spot. Spears is well aware of that and played like a motivated man against the Raiders.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Sean Lee
Dan Connor
Bruce Carter
Orie Lemon
Lemon opened a lot of eyes during the first two weeks of training camp, but that didn’t carry over to his performance in Oakland.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Victor Butler
Kyle Wilber
Alex Albright
Adrian Hamilton could make himself really tough to cut. The Cowboys could opt to go with only three true inside linebackers since Albright is working at that spot to make room for the pass rusher from Prairie View A&M.

CORNERBACKS (5)
Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Mike Jenkins
Orlando Scandrick
Mario Butler
The decision probably comes down to Butler or Teddy Williams, who has elite track speed but lacks cornerback quickness and football instincts.

SAFETIES (5)
Gerald Sensabaugh
Barry Church
Danny McCray
Matt Johnson
Mana Silva
Silva has enough special teams potential to justify keeping five safeties, especially considering that Johnson has practiced a grand total of once during training camp.

SPECIALISTS (3)
Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
Charley Hughlett
The Cowboys let Mat McBriar go because of about $300,000. They’ll save roughly twice as much if Hughlett, who did all the long snapping against the Raiders, replaces veteran L.P. Ladouceur.

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