By Todd Brock August 29, 2022 7:21 am
By Todd Brock |
Now is the time when prospective Cowboys don’t want to see their names in the headlines. As the Tuesday deadline to get the roster to 53 creeps ever closer, some players are already getting the news they hoped to not hear. A wide receiver who made a highlight-reel grab in camp and a backup gunslinger once thought to be a pet project of the head coach are among those who have reportedly already been cut by the team.
Meanwhile, several Cowboys hope they’ve done enough to stay. One of Friday night’s stars gets good news on the injury front, one is right on schedule after a coordinator’s prescient comment, and one has a great story to tell about scoring his first touchdown wearing someone else’s helmet. We’re examining the Tyler Smith decision with bated breath, and we’re looking at the La’el Collins and Dalton Schultz decisions with the benefit of hindsight. Micah Parsons has been judged by his NFL peers, Jalen Tolbert meets up with a high school teammate just across the parking lot in Arlington, and the futures of Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis could be tied closely to how the front office plans to deal with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. All that and more in News and Notes.
The link will continue to be updated as news comes out of The Star right up until the official release of the 53-man roster. As of Sunday night, wide receiver T.J. Vasher, center/guard James Empey, and backup quarterback Ben DiNucci have already been dismissed, according to various reports. Each could return to the practice squad once the dust settles.
Eleventh-hour trades right before the cut deadline aren’t unheard of in Dallas during Will McClay’s tenure, but it hasn’t happened the last three years running. Such a move rarely brings a “world-beater” to town, but given the dire straits at tackle and lack of veteran experience at wide receiver and backup quarterback, what’s the harm in asking around?
There are always surprises, both in who finds themselves seeking new employment and who survives final cuts. Among those who may have done just enough without much obvious fanfare, don’t be shocked if DaRon Bland, Peyton Hendershot, and Malik Davis (to name a few) are still standing come Tuesday night.
Whether Davis and Dowdle make the 53-man roster may be up to not only their own running abilities, but how the Cowboys view their top two rushers in the long term. If Davis is kept, it could be a clue Dallas is thinking about severing ties with the highly-paid Ezekiel Elliott after this season. If Dowdle stays, Tony Pollard could well be on the way out in next year’s free agency. If both make the roster, the Cowboys might even be preparing for the departure of both veteran backs in a massive offseason overhaul.
The rookie tight end scored his fourth-quarter touchdown (ultimately the game-winner) wearing someone else’s helmet. After an illegal hit damaged his own headgear, Hendershot asked to borrow Jake Ferguson’s helmet so he could get back on the field. “I love Jake; he’s been an awesome teammate,” the Indiana product said.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said that he wanted three weeks “in the lab” to see what the undrafted free agent out of Florida A&M could really do. Exactly three weeks and two days later, Bell showed out in the preseason finale versus Seattle. His tip-drill interception may have sealed his spot on the 53-man roster as the safety-linebacker hybrid Quinn envisioned all along.
Tyler Smith was supposed to be the left tackle of the future. Instead, he worked exclusively at left guard during camp and was unable to publicly win the starting job from Connor McGovern… and now he may be staring at being asked to play left tackle anyway with Tyron Smith lost for three to four months.
Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot have played well at tight end, and the club is desperately grasping at straws for a plan along the offensive line. Hindsight is 20/20, but the way the Cowboys’ preseason has shaken out makes the front office’s decision to let La’el Collins walk while paying Dalton Schultz franchise tag money looks awfully misguided.
The most dangerous man on the Cowboys defense earned the praise of his peers across the league in just one season of play. Parsons placed 16th on the NFL Top 100, the highest-ranked of all off-the-ball linebackers.
Many fans are just now getting their first look at Elliott’s new headgear, and they have jokes. The running back’s new Riddell Axiom helmet is drawing comparisons to RoboCop, Daft Punk, Marvin the Martian, Halo‘s Master Chief, and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
news and notes, timely, News and Notes
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By Todd Brock August 29, 2022 7:21 am