Saturday, September 3, 2011
Cowboys cut Igor Olshansky, 25 others
By Calvin Watkins
The Dallas Cowboys got their roster down to the NFL-mandated 53 players Saturday by releasing 26 players, leaving them with seven defensive linemen, four tight ends, two kickers and no fullbacks.
Of all the cuts, seven-year veteran defensive end Igor Olshansky was the biggest, but it wasn't unexpected. The Cowboys signed Kenyon Coleman in the early stages of training camp, and he's a run-stopper like Olshansky.
However, Coleman is more familiar with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme, having played in it for two seasons in Cleveland.
The Cowboys will not be short on defensive linemen, however. Clifton Geathers, who earned the praise of the coaching staff for his work during the preseason, was among the seven to stick around. The Cowboys considered trying to sign Geathers to the practice squad, but they didn't want to take the risk of another team claiming him on waivers, so they decided to keep him on the 53-man roster.
The Cowboys also cut all three of their traditional fullbacks, Shaun Chapas, Chris Gronkowski and Jason Pociask. They went heavy at tight end instead, in part because of the improved play of Martin Rucker as a receiver and blocker and the ankle injury to Martellus Bennett. Bennett is expected to miss the season opener at the New York Jets on Sept. 11 with a high ankle sprain.
Veteran kickers Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner were also released. The kickers were signed during training camp to create competition for David Buehler, who was last year's kicker. But Graham and Rayner were a combined 1-for-3 in the preseason. Buehler was 2-for-3. The Cowboys also kept free-agent rookie Dan Bailey, who was 2-for-2.
Of the eight 2011 draft picks, cornerback Josh Thomas and Chapas did not make the roster. There's a chance they will be signed to the practice squad if they clear waivers.
The Cowboys also kept four rookies along the offensive line and expect to start two against the Jets: Bill Nagy and Tyron Smith.
Wide receiver Raymond Radway was placed on the reserve/injured list with a broken leg suffered in the final preseason game at Miami.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.