Dallas Cowboys Players in Serious Danger of Being Cut Soon
In just a few weeks, the Dallas Cowboys will have to cut players to meet the league requirements. Every team will make tough decisions, however, this process shows the emphasis put on training camp performance and preseason games.
A lot of people chalk up training camp as boring or insignificant. Nevertheless, anytime a team is deciding whom to keep on its roster, it becomes a big deal.
Obviously there are players each team is going to keep despite how they do at this point in the year. Plenty of veterans coast through the summer because they know how to turn it on when it counts.
Many other guys don’t have this comfort and assurance. Everyday at camp is a war and the time to prove their worth to the organization.
No matter how difficult it is for the coaching staff, these Cowboys need to show improvement because they’re in real jeopardy of being cut soon.
All statistics via Pro Football Reference unless indicated otherwise.
Nate Livings – Guard
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Nate Livings started all 16 games for the Cowboys last season, but is in serious trouble of making the team. Last week, the guard suffered another knee injury that required surgery. He’s out for the remainder of training camp and is listed as questionable to return for Week 1.
Livings wasn’t the weakest part of the Dallas line in 2012, but the unit as a whole was quite terrible. That’s exactly why the team is all for new faces contending for the starting positions.
First-round pick Travis Frederick should start no matter what and it’s looking like the center position is his.
Second-year guard Ronald Leary has looked very impressive through camp and the first preseason game against Miami. Dallas ran the ball extremely well on his side, with him and Tyron Smith opening up big holes all night.
The Cowboys also just attempted to pick up another guard with former Jets lineman Brandon Moore. Unfortunately, he decided to retire instead of signing a one-year contract. Even though Dallas was unsuccessful, the attempt to add another piece on the line shows the current intentions of the front office.
Besides any new players the team might sign, Mackenzy Bernadeau, David Arkin and Phil Costa are fighting for guard spots as well. Depending on how things go in the next few weeks, Livings could find himself as a free agent.
Eric Frampton – Safety
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Eric Frampton started two games for the injury-depleted Cowboys defense in 2012. Despite showing some potential, he too could be out of a job very soon.
The seven-year veteran played decently last season and in the first preseason game, however, his play will not be enough. In order for Frampton to make this year’s team, I think some injuries have to occur.
Dallas is simply too deep at the safety position.
With Will Allen, Barry Church, Matt Johnson and J.J. Wilcox, finding a spot as even a backup is difficult.
Frampton is really in trouble because he’s not even the best safety on special teams. Since the depth chart is pretty crowded, it appears that Danny McCray will only be a special teams guy unless numerous players go down.
If this is the case, Frampton could be gone relatively soon.
Spencer Benton – Punter
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Although many fans might not even know who Spencer Benton is, it looks like he won’t be around long enough for anyone to learn.
Benton is the second-string punter on the roster behind starter Chris Jones.
Jones is in no real danger of losing his starting position unless he suffers an injury or Benton plays incredibly this summer. So far, neither has happened.
Jones staying healthy for the duration of a season has yet to be seen, but Benton didn’t do anything on the field against the Dolphins to help his cause. Benton only averaged a measly 29 yards per punt in his four attempts.
Jones actually had 19 more total yards in his punts while having one less attempt than Benton.
There’s no way Dallas keeps two punters on its roster so look for Benton to be elsewhere in a few weeks.
Brandon Underwood – Cornerback
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Brandon Underwood is another player in the Dallas secondary that might get left off the team. The cornerback had three tackles in the Cowboys’ opening preseason game, but like Frampton, his play might not be enough.
For once in several years, the corner spot on Dallas’ roster is stacked.
Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are undoubtedly the starters. Orlando Scandrick is a solid No. 3 and Sterling Moore showed enough last season to grant him a spot on the 2013 team. Dallas also drafted B.W. Webb in the fourth round of the draft.
If Dallas was to keep six corners, Underwood would have a real chance. However, it’s highly unlikely this will occur.
Like some others on this list, Underwood needs to have a really impressive training camp and do something to turn some heads. Otherwise, if there are no injuries to the players at the top of the depth chart, he won’t be around long.
Kendial Lawrence – Running Back
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Kendial Lawrence is an explosive undrafted free agent from Missouri who has high hopes of making the roster. Unfortunately for him, Dallas’ running backs have looked amazing thus far.
Currently DeMarco Murray is the only one of the backs who has his future set in stone. He will be the starter Week 1 and for the entire season if he can remain healthy.
That can’t be said for the other four. Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner are all competing to be the backup along with Lawrence.
Although Lawrence is probably the fastest man out of all those backs, his inexperience is probably going to hurt him in the long run.
Dunbar, Randle and Tanner all played extremely well in the opening game. Each averaged more than 5.4 yards per carry en route to totaling more than 150 yards on the ground.
Lawrence had a mediocre five carries for 14 yards.
If he can do enough in training camp, Lawrence could be one of the guys to be signed to the practice squad. Four running backs is plenty to keep on a roster and so far it seems he’s the odd man out.
However, if he doesn’t progress in the upcoming weeks, he’s another player that could be sent packing.