- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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For the moment, the Dallas Cowboys will head into the 2012 season with three quarterbacks and nine offensive linemen. They will also be without two players from the 2012 draft class.
The Cowboys have trimmed their roster to 53 but could make changes if a player of interest becomes available on the waiver wire.
The biggest surprise came at quarterback. Stephen McGee will be the third quarterback for a fourth consecutive season. During training camp, coach Jason Garrett said he would prefer keeping three quarterbacks but understood if that needed to change to increase depth at other roster spots.
The offensive line remains a concern behind four trusted starters in Doug Free, Tyron Smith, Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau. The starting center is Phil Costa, but there are issues not only with him but with the backups. David Arkin played center for the first time as a pro during the preseason when Costa suffered a strained lower back injury.
The Cowboys traded for depth at center in giving up a seventh-round pick in 2013 to Miami for Ryan Cook, who can play guard and center. Veteran Derrick Dockery remains with the team at guard. He was one of two linemen -- Daniel Loper being the other -- who signed during training camp after injuries to the line left the Cowboys seeking help.
Five of the seven draft picks from the 2012 class remain. Wide receiver Danny Coale, a fifth-round pick, battled injuries to his foot and hamstring this summer, and the Cowboys just didn't see enough of him to keep him. Coale could return to the practice squad if he clears waivers. The Cowboys have to finalize the practice squad by midday Saturday.
Linebacker Caleb McSurdy, a seventh-round pick, is on injured reserve with a torn Achilles, suffered during training camp.
The Cowboys made two interesting decisions, cutting undrafted rookie guard Ronald Leary, who was guaranteed $214,000,, this season, and linebacker Orie Lemon. Lemon was cut despite a strong preseason which included returning an interception for a touchdown. But there were concerns about his special teams abilities.
Both players could return to the practice squad. The same goes for running back Lance Dunbar (North Texas), who rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in the preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins.
Wide receiver Andre Holmes, who struggled at times during training camp, made the 53-man roster despite not having a big preseason. Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris emerged as the best of the backup wide receivers.
The players who were released Friday: Jeff Adams, Baraka Atkins, Ben Bass, Tim Benford, Robert Callaway, Rudy Carpenter, Shaun Chapas, Coale, Dunbar, Clifton Geathers, Harland Gunn, Saalim Hakim, Adrian Hamilton, Ronald Leary, Lemon, Jamize Olawale, Pat McQuistan, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Lionel Smith, Andrew Szczerba, Eddie Whitley and Teddy Williams.
The Cowboys waived/injured guard Loper, who suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason finale.