The Dallas Cowboys are more than halfway through training camp in Oxnard, with a preseason Game 1 to be played Saturday at LA against the Rams. What have we learned about the 53-man roster? Well, for one thing, that assembling it properly, in our eyes, necessitates three trades:Quarterback (3):
Romo, Showers, Prescott -- Or it is Prescott and then Showers? Or, most important of all, is it a trade for Josh McCown (or someone like him to replace the injured Moore)? Jerry Jones keeps saying the kids keep impressing him so much that he might "stand pat'' and avoid bringing in another QB. ... but that goes against months and months of planning at this position. Here's the straight dope on the Cowboys QB hunt.Running Back (3):
Elliott, Morris, Jackson -- I've said this from the start and there is no reason for me to change my thinking: Letting Dunbar start the season on PUP makes sense. And trading McFadden for ... something ... makes even more sense. Meanwhile, Zeke should return to work this week after bubblewrapping the hamstring. And that may be close to all that matters in this position group.Fullback (1):
Smith -- I don't know that this offense works very well when it uses one ... but this head coach likes to keep one.
Wide Receiver (6):
Bryant, Williams, Beasley, Whitehead, Butler, Jones - Jones is on his way to sending Devin Street packing ... and then the club needs to decide if if really needs to keep six instead of five ... because obviously, that sixth guy will never dress. So he'd better be a special prospect. The preseason games will be telling here. No, you don't need to see Dez. (Except at the JUGS Machine, where he's an "angry fun'' man. You need to see Butler push T-Will and you need to see Lucky possess the ball and you need to see if Jones is "special'' enough.
Tight End (4):
Witten, Escobar, Swaim, Gathers -- Odd circumstances here. Gathers hasn't earned anything. But Hanna has that "knee bruise'' (and you know what that might mean). Escobar is surprisingly healthy. And inside the team, there are high hopes for Swaim, who had a great Blue-White Scrimmage. Very much in flux here.Offensive Line (9):
Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, Free, Leary, Looney, Green, Bradfield -- There is some clarify here, I think. But one change is brewing: I've talked to Ron Leary about this numerous times now ... he doesn't want to make waves. But he does want to be traded. So this would be Trade No. 3 (behind the QB coming and McFadden going): Leary in exchange for an edge-rusher would really help. And I say that even as Leary has had a great camp.Defensive Tackle (5):
T. Crawford, Thornton, T. McClain, Collins, J. Crawford -- This can be a decent rotation group if they're all healthy. But they're not. Tyrone Crawford tells me his back is not a major problem. Thornton tells us he has a virus, no biggie. McClain's toe? They oughta just amputate the damn thing.Defensive End (4):
Mayowa, Irving, Russell, Tapper -- More flux here. Tank will be ready a month into the season, but that doesn't help now. (See my 1-on-1 with Lawrence here). Recent signee Jenkins might have something ... but not ahead of those four. Wood has a "motor'' but that's probably not enough. I'm told the trainers think Mayowa might be ready to play in Preseason Game 2 against Miami. That would help. But a trade for an edge-rusher with skins on the wall would help, too.Linebacker (6):
Lee, Hitchens, Wilber, Durant, Nzeocha, Gachkar - Gachkar got thumb surgery. Wilson (PUP) got paintballed. Ro got Purple Dranked. Oh, quit saying you saw this coming! Oh, and quit saying Jaylon Smith is "progressing.'' "Redshirt year.'' That's what folks need to keep saying. Even he kind of says it to me in this "clear-eye view'' 1-on-1 exclusively at CHQ.
Defensive Backs (9)
Jones, Church, Heath, Wilcox (S), Scandrick, Carr, Claiborne, Brown, Olatoye (CB) -- This group is making it easy on us. We missed badly (so far) on thinking the rookie Frazier was going to steal Wilcox' roster spot. Right now, Frazier looks like P-squad fodder. Claiborne has been a standout here. Healthy and confident ... which breeds more of the same.
Bailey, Jones, Ladouceur -- I enjoy my conversations with Dan Bailey almost as much as I enjoy watching him virtually never miss a kick.