Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Depth along the Cowboys roster is good
By Calvin Watkins
OXNARD, Calif. -- After one preseason game it was easy to tell the Cowboys have better depth on their roster than last season.
You never want to know what type of depth you have with your team unless something happens and in 2012, the depth was bad given the injuries to the roster.
We take a look at the depth at each position:
Quarterback: There were some concerns about Kyle Orton in training camp, especially after a few bad passes and interceptions, but he led the Cowboys on a productive first drive against the Miami Dolphins and made a nice throw to tight end Dante Rosario.
Running back: Any concerns about finding a replacement for DeMarco Murray were eased after watching Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle. Each handled the ball well and read their holes to get yards. Tanner left the game briefly with a forearm injury, but returned. Dunbar, as he's done in practices, has ran hard and fast and Tanner and Randle displayed good vision while hitting the holes.
Wide receiver: With the Cowboys running so much, 32 run plays in the preseason opener we really didn't get a good look at the wideouts. Terrance Williams missed the game with a concussion and he's status for Friday night in Oakland is in question. Eric Rogers and Jared Green are long shots to make the 53-man roster, but have practiced well. Tim Benford did make a nice catch on a slant.
Tight end: There was some solid blocking from the backups and Andre Smith impressed the coaches with his skills. Not sure if that's enough to make the roster. Gavin Escobar needs more work on his blocking skills but that will come in time.
Offensive line: Here's what you need to know about the line, the Cowboys ran three of their first four run plays to the left side with Ronald Leary and Tyron Smith paving the way for some nice yardage totals. Leary is off to a solid start in his quest to become the starter at left guard. Center Travis Frederick played well at center and right guard.
Defensive line: Nick Hayden with a fumble recovery from the defensive tackle spot, defensive end George Selvie had two sacks and defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton with a pass breakup and a tackle for loss were the highlights. Yes, the Cowboys would love to get Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer back, but considering the health at this position, it's good to have some quality. While Kyle Wilber didn't get in the stats sheet with big numbers, he was very active at pushing the pocket.
Linebackers: DeVonte Holloman wasn't on the bubble to make the roster, yet his 75-yard interception return for a score bolstered his cause. Middle linebacker Brandon Magee picked up four tackles and made a case to become the backup to Sean Lee.
Defensive backs: You always need cornerbacks and Brandon Understood and Sterling Moore have performed pretty good in camp, though, Moore has the edge as the No. 4 corner. J.J. Wilcox did some nice things at times, but needs to improve in pass coverage. The third-team safety play was inconsistent but that was mainly to the soft zone the defense played in the last 12 minutes of the game.
Specialist: The three spots on this unit are secure. We didn't like Cole Beasley returning a kick seven-yards deep but that might be more about him trying to make a play.