Camp Ends with Questions

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells ended training camp unsure of what type of team he is going to have.

Topping his list of concerns are questions at right tackle, free safety, kicker and outside linebacker.

The Cowboys are not confident in the current options available on the roster and will be scanning the waiver wire for help. An injury to second-year lineman Jacob Rogers and his lack of mental toughness has left the Cowboys in a lurch at right tackle; where rookie Rob Petitti and Torrin Tucker are competing for the job.

A hip flexor injury to kicker Billy Cundiff, which will sideline him for five weeks and likely lead to his release from the team, leaves Jose Cortez as the only option.

Cortez has struggled in camp. Parcells said the team will tryout several other kickers.

Keith Davis still has not won Parcells over as the starting free safety and the youth at outside linebacker has him very nervous.

Making matters worse are the injuries to nose tackle Jason Ferguson and defensive end Marcus Spears. Ferguson has missed the first two preseason games with a sprained ankle. Spears will be out until the season opener with a sprained knee.

Without the two on the practice field to get in sync, the Cowboys are now considering scrapping plans to use the 3-4 defense full time. Parcells said he will use a mix of the 4-man front along with the 3-man front -- maybe even a fifty-fifty mix of each. His goal is to get the best players on the field.

After the camp La'Roi Glover has had, there is no way the Cowboys defense will be at its best with the five-time Pro Bowler playing backup to Jason Ferguson as a nose tackle in the 3-4.

Parcells said that he has projected players in about 40-43 roster spots, leaving 20 players to fight for 10-13 remaining spots.

Players who he considers as pleasant surprises include four rookies: nose guard Thomas "Pepper" Johnson, defensive end Jay Ratliff, tackle Rob Petitti and running back Tyson Thompson.

Parcells said surprising play and the presence of rookie defensive end Chris Canty has somewhat offset the absence of Marcus Spears.

When the Cowboys drafted Canty in the fourth round, they did so with the understanding that he might not be able to play this year after undergoing eye surgery in January.

Canty has only missed one week of training camp and played his way into a spot in the defensive line rotation.

"The expectations for Canty were -- we were just wishing," Parcells said. "Now it looks like we are going to have a pretty good player there. That is just a big plus. I think we did take a chance. I don't know if the word is gamble, but it was a chance. It wasn't a 90-10 chance. It was more of a 50-50 chance. It looks like it could turn out the way we hoped."

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