Sunday, August 25, 2013
Snap count reveals a lot about the Cowboys
By Calvin Watkins
The playing time of several Dallas Cowboys players during Saturday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals told you plenty about what the team thinks of certain players and of certain position groups.
Wide receiver: You think the Cowboys are trying to get Anthony Armstrong on the 53-man roster? He played 22 offensive snaps, including 10 on special teams. If the Cowboys go with six receivers, he will be No. 6. Tim Benford played 17 plays Saturday night and if he's cut, maybe the team brings him back to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Another player who might not make the 53 but get moved to the practice squad is Danny Coale, who played just three offensive snaps. He had a swollen knee during training camp, which slowed his development, and is coming off a torn ACL. Jared Green and Eric Rogers were healthy scratches for the dress rehearsal. Green and Rogers, if both survive the Tuesday cuts from 90 to 75, will see plenty of action Thursday night against Houston. The question is who do you want for the practice squad -- Coale, Benford, Rogers or Green?
Special teams participants: The Cowboys will play rookies on special teams this season. The growing pains are obvious, but two players -- linebacker DeVonte Holloman and safety Jeff Heath -- combined for 30 special teams snaps versus the Bengals. Each made plays during the game, with Holloman's sack and Heath forcing a fumble in the victory. We expect Holloman and Heath to make the roster and participate on all the special teams units during the regular season because they won't see much time on defense unless there's an injury to someone.
Cornerback: The injury to Morris Claiborne (knee) allowed the Cowboys to play B.W. Webb more, and he participated in 36 defensive snaps mostly as the slot corner in the nickle package. He's come a long way from the Oakland game, in which he allowed a receiver to get behind him and he took some bad angles on a few tackles. Webb has improved each week since that game in pass coverage.