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Sunday, September 1, 2013
For Dallas, five TEs seem a bit much now

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- Back on July 30, I wondered aloud whether the Cowboys would keep five tight ends on the 53-man roster. On Saturday they just did that, but that doesn’t mean it will hold up for the opening week.

Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Dante Rosario and Andre Smith are on the roster as of this typing, but, according to sources, the Cowboys had some trade discussions on Saturday involving Rosario.

Maybe something shakes free now that the cut to the 53-man limit is over, but let’s go with the premise that all five will remain on the Cowboys.

Can the Cowboys take all five to the game? And if they can’t take all five to the game, why did they keep five?

Witten and Hanna are the top two. Escobar, the second-round pick, has strength limitations but he could have a red zone package. Rosario is supposedly the better special-teamer than Smith, but he played a part in three breakdowns in the preseason. Smith is the blocker in the bunch.

To me Hanna and Rosario are similar players with similar functions. They are better pass-catchers than blockers. They play on the major special-teams units. Smith is the wild card because of his blocking ability. On my final 53-man projection I had Smith making the team over Rosario.

For all of the talk of “12 personnel,” this summer the Cowboys are still at their best when they use three wide receivers and get Tony Romo in the shotgun.

When it will matter most the Cowboys will go with “11 personnel,” over the multiple tight end look. So why keep five?

By the end of the day this might be moot, but it looks like a little bit of overkill right now.