Thursday, September 03, 2009

How Do You Get to 53?

With almost no drama left for 80% of your roster heading into the final preseason game, I wanted to look at the last two years as a template for how Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips, and the Dallas Cowboys Personnel Department looks at its 53 man board.

As you know, by the weekend, teams across the league must trim to 53. This generally is followed by teams changing out the last few spots with other teams' discards, but, obviously, we can only analyze those who are currently owned by the Cowboys.


Table Tutorial

As you can see, it is fairly consistent from year to year with just a few slight variations. However, there are 2 big deviations this year that will cause much consternation in the war room.

1) - The Cowboys are going with 3 QBs this year barring a shock with Stephen McGee.
2) - The Cowboys are going with 4 Special Team-only players with a kickoff specialist added to the punter, kicker, and deep snapper.

So, when you add a number to each of those categories, you must short two others.

With that in mind, let's see if we can get to 53 before the final Minnesota Game:

QB - 3
Romo, Kitna, McGee

RB - 4
Barber, Jones, Choice, Anderson

TE - 3
Witten, Bennett, Phillips

WR - 5
Williams, Hurd, Austin, Crayton, Ogletree

OL - 8
Adams, Kosier, Gurode, Davis, Colombo, Free, Holland, Preston,

DL - 6
Ratliff, Spears, Hatcher, Olshansky, Bowen, Siavii

LB - 8
James, Brooking, Carpenter, Williams, Ware, Spencer, Butler, Johnson

DB - 9
Newman, Scandrick, Jenkins, Ball, Mickens, Hamlin, Sensabaugh, Hamlin, Smith,

ST - 4
McBriar, Folk, Buehler, Ladouceur

So there is 50, and in my opinion, all have pretty much made the squad. The most curious selection may be Curtis Johnson at LB, but I thought Wade pretty much told us he was on the team the other day in his press conference. 3 more spots are left. Who is left to compete for the final 3 spots?

Isaiah Stanback, Cory Proctor, Patrick Watkins, Steve Octavien, Terrius George, Travis Bright, Pat McQuistan, Matt Stewart, and perhaps one of the DB's they brought in this week (Deangelo Willingham or Jeremy Haynes) will be battling for the final 3 spots.

The final spots at LB, OL, DB, and WR will all have special teams implications. So, consider that as you watch the final game; the best player at his given position will not necessarily be the guy - if a slightly lesser LB can do more on special teams, he will likely get the nod.

Anyway, just a light exercise this morning, before the Cowboys starters go through the motions tomorrow night. Just know that to many on the bottom of the roster, this is their last chance to play professional football. It is not meaningless to everyone.

Sources for 2007 and 2008 numbers: Archer 2008 and Archer 2007

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