Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Your 2013 Dallas Cowboys!

After giving the personnel department a few days to figure everything out, the Cowboys have finally settled on their week 1 roster.  For historical purposes, we will actually have to stick with the 53 men who the Cowboys turned into the league on Saturday at the 5 pm deadline, but as we said last week, a proper NFL roster is in the constant state of development and is never fully set.

In fact, once we get through the week 1 games, then a number of business thresholds are met.  For the vested veteran - a player with 4+ years of service time, his salary becomes guaranteed if he is on the 53 for Week 1.  This causes teams to have their eyes on a veteran but to not actually he bring him to town until September 9th, the day after their 1st game.  Players signed in that scenario may be signed under an arrangement where they make their salary only in weeks where they are on the roster.  That may not seem like an issue that is a big deal to many of us and worth the trouble, but to a team that is up against the cap (or has an in-season extension in mind for one of its pending free agents), it can free up quite a bit of needed 2013 dollars.

And, of course, once foot meets leather on Sunday Night, injuries start to happen that will continue to keep the personnel department busy and that roster in a constant state of flux.  It is the way the sport works.

But, now let's lock in that original 53 and the subsequent moves already made to look at how this thing shapes up here in 2013:

Final 53:

Quarterbacks (2):  Tony Romo and Kyle Orton

Running Backs (4):  DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar

Tight Ends (5):  Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Andre Smith, Dante Rosario

Wide Receivers (5): Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley

Offensive Line (10)  :  Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ron Leary, Travis Frederick, Phil Costa, David Arkin, Darion Weems.

Defensive Line (9):  DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, George Selvie, Ben Bass, Sean Lissemore, Kyle Wilbur, Landon Cohen

Linebackers (5): Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Ernie Sims, DeVonte Holloman

Cornerbacks (4): Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, BW Webb

Safety (6) : Will Allen, Barry Church, Danny McCray, JJ Wilcox, Eric Frampton, Jeff Heath

Specialty Players (3): Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, and LP Ladouceur

From there, the following transactions have happened:

- Cowboys Place Nate Livings on Injured Reserve (roster to 52)
- Cowboys trade 6th in 2014 to KC for Edgar Jones, LB and 7th in 2014 (53)
- Cowboys trade Sean Lissemore to SD for 7th in 2014 (52)
- Cowboys claim Kyle Bosworth, LB from Giants (53)
- Cowboys trade Dante Rosario to Chicago for 7th in 2014 (roster sits at 52)

Also, they named their practice squad to open 2013:

- Alex Tanney, QB
- Jakar Hamilton, S
- Tim Benford, WR
- Danny Coale, WR
- Jason Vega, DE
- Micah Pellerin, S
- Cameron Lawrence, LB
- Ray Dominguez, G

They have room to add another body still - something likely to happen today - along the offensive or defensive lines.  But, we should give credit to the Cowboys for flipping bodies for picks.  In this cynical climate we live in regarding the Cowboys, we should never thumb our noses at acquiring picks.  They always have a chance to find something nice or to be used as future ammunition to move up in the draft for the right reasons.

As we break this thing down, I will draw your attention to a fun little info-graphic that the Cowboys website has made itself.  As we all know, 9 out of 10 astronauts endorse info-graphics as the learning tool of the future.

I think the moves over the weekend confirm some real issues with special teams that are being addressed.  Expect Bosworth and Jones to both step right in as special teams contributors and be on all kick and punt teams as early as Sunday Night.  Rosario was being kept for that it seems, but once they were offered something of substance by the Bears (and oddly, Joe DeCamilis' special teams), the Cowboys cashed in.

Quick thoughts on where the 53 sits - there are still major questions about how the offensive line will perform or even line up on Sunday.  It seems Ron Leary is ready to roll (or very close) and therefore, we might have Free returning to tackle, but it is tough to say.

However, the issues on this team remain up front.  If ever there was a feeling that they are one more injury away from disaster, I think you could use that with their Ratliff situation on the defensive line.  They have found some reasonable replacement ideas, but the quality is dropping quickly and any more bodies lost could cause the dam to break.  I was hoping one of their claims would be at defensive tackle, but they passed on Marvin Austin (waived by Giants) which tells us he must still not be healthy enough for Dallas to take a run at him.

Today is the player's off day as the coaches finally put the finishing touches on their game-plan.  Tomorrow, they welcome in the 53 (52) man roster and get to work with their first normal work-week of 2013.  They open with a divisional opponent that has beaten them 4 out of 4 trips to Arlington when the NY Giants come calling again.

There is no tip-toeing into this year.  The schedule advises the Cowboys to grab September - easily their easiest month in terms of first glance schedule evaluation - and build a strong record early for the first time in a while.

Since moving to the new Cowboys Stadium, they have started their seasons by allowing the rabbits to run away and hide:

2009: 2-2
2010: 1-3
2011: 2-2
2012: 2-2

If you follow the NFC East, you know that the Giants always seem to start 6-2 or so, so building a nice deficit is a habit that needs to be overcome.  And playing the Giants at home, at Kansas City, the Rams at home, and at the Chargers says that 3-1 in September should be reasonable plan.

And now, we get ready for the start.  Just 5 more days.

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