Dallas Cowboys Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 26, 2013

Dallas Cowboys Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

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    In a matter of a week, the Dallas Cowboys had to shrink their active roster by over 40 percent, from 90 to 53. Those who have been following the 'Boys closely throughout organized team activities, training camp and the preseason have certainly developed preferences and attachments that were sadly destroyed and/or severed by the time the final roster was confirmed Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

    Here's what went down.

List of 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Cowboys trimmed the roster down to the final 53 ahead of Saturday's deadline. There weren't really any surprises. Unfortunately, 2012 drafy picks Danny Coale, Matt Johnson and Caleb McSurdy won't be part of the equation yet again, and the 'Boys will be sticking with only two quarterbacks.

    Here, courtesy of ESPN.com's Todd Archer, is a look at all of the players released by Saturday's deadline:

    • Anthony Armstrong, WR
    • Alex Tanney, QB
    • Edawn Coughman, OL
    • Jakar Hamilton, S
    • Taylor Reed, LB
    • Demetress Bell, OL
    • Kendial Lawrence, RB
    • Xavier Brewer, CB
    • Jerome Long, DE
    • Jabari Fletcher, DE
    • Caleb McSurdy, LB
    • Cameron Lawrence, LB
    • Thaddeus Gibson, DE
    • Ray Dominguez, OL
    • Danny Coale, WR
    • Jason Vega, DE
    • Tim Benford, WR
    • Micah Pellerin, CB
    • Sterling Moore, CB
    • Brandon Magee, LB
    • Kevin Kowalski, OL
    • Nate Livings, OL (injured reserve)
    • Matt Johnson, S (injured reserve)

Previewing & Analyzing the Practice Squad

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    The Cowboys on Sunday signed eight players back after trimming their roster to 53 in time for the Saturday deadline. Here's a breakdown of the guys that will enter the season on the Dallas practice squad...

    Alex Tanney, QB: We saw a lot of him in the preseason and he won a lot of fans over. It was a tad surprising to see him slip through waivers, but the Cowboys are happy to stash him away for the time being.

    Danny Coale, WR: Back again. A fifth-round pick in 2012, Coale hasn't been able to make the final cut for two years in a row but will be stashed away to start the 2013 campaign.

    Tim Benford, WR: Benford's also had some nice moments the last two summers but is on the practice squad again. He and Coale will be eligible for one more year.

    Ray Dominguez, G: Nate Livings is on injured reserve and it's tough to tell what they'll get from Mackenzy Bernadeau or Ronald Leary. In other words, Dominguez is in a good spot.

    Jason Vega, DE: A bit surprising considering how rarely he saw action in the preseason, but a really strong performance in the preseason finale really made a difference. 

    Micah Pellerin, CB: The second-year pro was solid throughout the preseason and the Cowboys are pretty shallow in the secondary.

    Jakar Hamilton, S: Surprised to see him land on the practice squad despite struggling for much of the preseason. 

    Cameron Lawrence, LB: The undrafted free agent was a machine with 17 tackles during the preseason.

Final Depth Chart

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    QB: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton

    RB: DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Phillip Tanner

    WR: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley

    TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Andre Smith

    OT: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Darrion Weems

    G: Brian Waters, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ronald Leary, David Arkin

    C: Travis Frederick, Phil Costa

    DE: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie, Caesar Rayford

    DT: Jay Ratliff*, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen

    OLB: Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, DeVonte Holloman, Ernie Sims, Kyle Bosworth

    MLB: Sean Lee, Edgar Jones

    CB: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, B.W. Webb

    S: Barry Church, Will Allen, Danny McCray, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath

    K: Dan Bailey 

    P: Chris Jones

    LS: L.P. LaDouceur

    * Will start the regular season on the PUP list.

    That leaves the 'Boys with more tight ends than cornerbacks. What the hell? Expect some changes to take place in the days to come.

Starters and Injury Notes

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    Generally, starters are immune from being cut. Not always, but most of them are safe. So let's establish who is or should be on track to start Week 1 while noting who is injured as cuts loom.

    Most of the week-to-week injured starters will remain in their starting spots, but some shuffling has been done along the offensive line, which is in flux right now.

     

    Starters

    QB: Tony Romo

    RB: DeMarco Murray

    WR: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin

    TE: Jason Witten

    OT: Tyron Smith, Jermey Parnell

    G: Mackenzy Bernadeau, Doug Free

    C: Travis Frederick

    DE: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer

    DT: Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher

    OLB: Bruce Carter, Justin Durant

    MLB: Sean Lee

    CB: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne 

    S: Barry Church, Will Allen

    K: Dan Bailey

    P: Chris Jones

     

    Injury Notes

    Morris Claiborne, knee, expected to be ready for Week 1: It's the second straight year Claiborne has been hampered by injuries during camp.

    Anthony Spencer, knee, questionable for Week 1: Underwent minor surgery July 25.

    Jay Ratliff, hamstring, extremely questionable for Week 1: The veteran defensive tackle remains on the physically unable to perform list.

    Lance Dunbar, foot, questionable for Week 1: The backup running back sprained his left foot Aug. 19.

    Ronald Leary, knee, questionable for Week 1: He was really starting to make a statement at guard too.

    Nate Livings, knee, week-to-week: Leaving the Cowboys extra thin at guard.

    Tyrone Crawford, Achilles, has been placed on injured reserve: That puts extra pressure on Ratliff, Spencer and Jason Hatcher, who has missed some time with a groin injury.

List of 1st Round of Cuts

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    The Cowboys waited until the eleventh hour, but they made nine final cuts on Tuesday in order to get the roster down to 75 players by 4 p.m. ET. 

    All in all, 10 players were given walking papers between Saturday's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals and that Tuesday deadline. Here, with help from ESPNDallas.com, is the final list of cuts:

    • Jeris Pendleton, DT
    • Nick Stephens, QB
    • Anthony Amos, WR
    • Eric Rogers, WR
    • Jared Green, WR
    • Dennis Godfrey, G
    • Colin Cochart, TE
    • Deon Lacey, LB
    • Brett Maher, K
    • Brandon Underwood, CB

    No major surprises, although few expected three wideouts to be part of the initial wave of cuts. That leaves Dallas with eight familiar faces at wideout. We'll break that depth down on the next page. 

    Underwood was the only cut with semi-significant experience. He spent two seasons with the Packers after being picked in the sixth round in 2009. He was beat quite often in the preseason. 

Depth Chart Post-75-Man Roster Cuts and Previewing 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    Here's our best guess regarding how the Cowboys' depth chart looked after the cut down to 75:

    QB: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Alex Tanney

    RB: DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Phillip Tanner, Kendial Lawrence 

    WR: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley, Anthony Armstrong, Tim Benford, Danny Coale

    TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Dante Rosario, Andre Smith

    OT: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Demetress Bell, Darrion Weems, Edawn Coughman

    G: Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ronald Leary, David Arkin, Kevin Kowalski, Ray Dominguez

    C: Travis Frederick, Phil Costa

    DE: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie, Jerome Long, Jabari Fletcher, Thaddeus Gibson, Jason Vega

    DT: Jay Ratliff*, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen

    OLB: Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, DeVonte Holloman, Ernie Sims

    MLB: Sean Lee, Caleb McSurdy, Taylor Reed, Cameron Lawrence

    CB: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, Sterling Moore, B.W. Webb, Xavier Brewer, Micah Pellerin

    S: Barry Church, Will Allen, Matt Johnson, Danny McCray, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, Jakar Hamilton, Eric Frampton

    K: Dan Bailey 

    P: Chris Jones

    LS: L.P. LaDouceur

    * Will start the regular season on the PUP list.

     

    Projected cuts

    • Phillip Tanner: I think they'd prefer to keep Lance Dunbar if he's healthy. And Joseph Randle has to be part of the final 53.
    • Kendial Lawrence: There's a crowd in that backfield and the undrafted free agent ran five times for only 14 yards during the preseason.
    • Danny Coale: After failing to stand out yet again, the 2012 fifth-round pick might land on the practice squad again.
    • Anthony Armstrong: If Cole Beasley keeps having health issues, Armstrong probably edges out Tim Benford for the final wide receiver spot.
    • Tim Benford: Benford had a solid preseason but he's better off on the practice squad.
    • Dante Rosario: He's got experience, but I just don't think there's room with Gavin Escobar on board.
    • Andre Smith: One 27-yard catch isn't close to enough for the 2011 undrafted free agent.
    • Kevin Kowalski: Just couldn't get healthy. I think Demetress Bell beats him out.
    • Darrion Weems: After bouncing around last year, he's on the roster bubble because of how thin Dallas is in his second season. He's been OK in the preseason but I think he winds up on the practice squad.
    • Edawn Coughman: He gave up wayyyy too much pressure in the preseason. 
    • Ray Dominguez: I'm not sure why they've held onto him so long. It makes me wonder if they really like him and are waiting for a turnaround in the health department. Unless things change dramatically Thursday, he's a goner.
    • Jerome Long: He was good enough this month to earn a practice squad opportunity. Still think George Selvie beat him out, though.
    • Jabari Fletcher: Wasn't impressed with what he did in the preseason. Just a camp body.
    • Thaddeus Gibson: The journeyman defensive end failed to stand out. Shame that he and Fletcher couldn't, because there were opportunities with guys going down on that d-line.
    • Jason Vega: Only two snaps in the fourth preseason game after being signed last week. He'd have to do something big on Thursday...
    • Landon Cohen: I give Ben Bass a slight edge for the final spot in the interior defensive line.
    • Taylor Reed: The SMU product has proven to be a solid tackler and a practice squad candidate.
    • Cameron Lawrence: You need to do more than that to make the final 53 as an undrafted free agent.
    • Xavier Brewer: He was pretty good in coverage this preseason but B.W. Webb stepped it up and those top five corners appear to be locked in.
    • Micah Pellerin: He was also solid but faces the same problem as Webb. Would like to see both of those guys on the practice squad.
    • Jakar Hamilton: He didn't look good at all during preseason play. Three missed tackles, at least.
    • Eric Frampton: A calf injury could cost him a shot, especially with Jeff Heath coming on.

Recently Cut Free Agents Dallas Is Rumored to Be Pursuing

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    The Cowboys could look to make some final tweaks between Saturday and the beginning of the regular season, especially if quality offensive linemen hit the open market. We'll be tracking any rumors here.