ARLINGTON -- After the first preseason game, here is a guess as to how the Cowboys' 53-man roster could shake out for the Sept. 11 season opener at the New York Jets:
McGee delivered with a game-winning fourth-quarter drive vs. Denver. He is not pushing Kitna for the No. 2 job just yet but he has shown the ability to make plays when it matters most. Coaches still want him to get rid of the ball faster.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
Miller did not show in the game how well he did in camp practices but it’s too early to say he can’t do it. Plus, he can play on all the special teams units. The bigger question with this group is whether all four could be active for games. I don’t see it.
I’m not married to this decision but rookie Shaun Chapas has yet to knock out the champ, if you know what I mean. This decision will go down to the final cuts.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Phillips took a shot to his knee early on in the game and did not miss a snap, so that is a positive sign for a guy coming back from major surgery. With Bennett out with a hamstring injury it also meant he got a ton of playing time.
WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
Harris (two) and Radway (one) were able to produce on the big stage with touchdown catches but in order for them to make an impact in the regular season they will have to show they can handle special teams. Radway’s speed could help as kick returner. Harris can’t dance so much on punts. Jesse Holley is still in the mix because of his coverage skills.
OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
When teams begin their cuts the Cowboys will look for some upgrades over the current group, so those last two spots are far from settled. Holland was just paid a $500,000 roster bonus so that makes it difficult to cut him. If the Cowboys want to go for a veteran, like a Brian Waters, they have to think about that sooner rather than later.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6)
There has been a lot of media speculation about Igor Olshansky’s future but he continues to run with the first team. Economics will play a part in this decision but I don’t think it’s a given. Lissemore has helped himself in camp and can play two spots. Hatcher has also excelled.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)
Where’s Bruce Carter? Don’t worry. He will not be ready to start the season because of the knee injury and thus will not count against the 53. Cummings has done a nice job in camp and is a thumper. Orie Lemon has been a surprise, too, and is in the mix.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Butler has made a huge leap in his third camp and will be part of Rob Ryan’s sub package defenses. He just has a knack for getting to the quarterback. Brandon Williams has been pretty quiet, which gives Albright a chance to make the final cut. I can see a scenario in which they go with four outside backers.
The top three are set. The bottom two aren’t, but Thomas has picked it up as of late and has been a first-team gunner on the punt team. That’s an indication he will be in the mix. Ball’s position flexibility helps him here, but he is making $1.2 million and that’s a lot for a No. 5 corner.
Sendejo gets the final spot among the safeties over Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. I just don’t see the awareness in him to be ready, but he will get the chance to impress as a returner in the preseason. McCray’s shoulder injury is something to keep an eye on too.
Any chance of Corey Adams supplanting Ladouceur as the snapper took a hit when he rolled one back Thursday. David Buehler made a 42-yarder but it was close. Bailey sent every kickoff into the end zone, so, to me, it comes down to consistency in making field goals. Bailey has been more consistent in camp.