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Saturday, September 4, 2010
Dallas Cowboys cutdown analysis

By Matt Mosley

Biggest surprise: The Cowboys are trying to become one of the first NFL teams to begin a season with only three cornerbacks. I seem to recall the Giants being in that situation in Week 2 last season, but it wasn't really their choice. The Cowboys cut veteran cornerback Cletis Gordon after he had, by all accounts, an excellent training camp. He struggled in the last couple preseason games and that may have done him in. Gordon had somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 interceptions in camp. It's also mildly surprising that former reality TV star Jesse Holley was released. The Cowboys decided to keep special teams ace Sam Hurd over Holley. It remains to be seen whether Hurd agreed to accept a paycut. He's owed $1.7 million this season. The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that Hurd refused to take a pay cut. We'll try to get to the bottom of that this evening. It was a little surprising to see the Cowboys release nose tackle Junior Siavii. He's been pretty steady this preseason, but it looks like they'll go with youth behind Jay Ratliff.

No-brainers: There's no room on this roster for four running backs and that's why Herb Donaldson and Lonyae Miller were released. One of those players could end up on the practice squad. I thought Miller was the better player, but it seemed like Donaldson received more snaps in the preseason. I loved guard Mike Tepper's backstory coming out of Cal, so perhaps he can land on the practice squad. Bryan McCann is an intriguing prospect at cornerback. I talked to two different teams who have been scouting him in the preseason, so he might have a tough time making it through to the practice squad.

What's next: I'd probably mix in another cornerback before the first game but maybe they think fourth round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is versatile enough to help them in a pinch. The Cowboys only kept two tight ends, so I'd definitely try to get Martin Rucker on the practice squad. Look for the Cowboys to scour the waiver wire for backup offensive linemen. Coach Wade Phillips hates cutting players once they have "made" the 53-man roster but the Cowboys have to protect themselves. I think this roster is pretty vulnerable in some areas. We'll keep an eye on things tonight and Sunday.

List of Cowboys players cut:
OT Will Barker
OG Travis Bright
DE Marcus Dixon
RB Herb Donaldson
TE DajLeon Farr
CB Cletis Gordon
WR Jesse Holley
WR Manny Johnson
OLB Curtis Johnson
CB Bryan McCann
RB Lonyae Miller
LB Steve Octavien
TE Jason Pociask
TE Martin Rucker
DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen
LB Brandon Sharpe
DE Junior Siavii
OL Mike Tepper
CB Jamar Wall
CB Teddy Williams