IRVING, Texas -- For the third time since 2007, the Cowboys are set to kick off the regular season against the New York Giants.
They earned a 45-35 win in 2007 at Texas Stadium and a 24-17 win last year at MetLife Stadium. I wonder if they will earn a win at AT&T Stadium this time.
Let’s get into this week’s Five Wonders, which is a Tuesday staple for the new folks to our side of the blogosphere:
1. Over the last few years the Cowboys’ pro personnel department has made a habit of finding players of the street nobody really wanted. It worked to perfection in 2011 with wide receiver Laurent Robinson. It worked last year with linebacker Ernie Sims and safety Eric Frampton. Now I wonder if the Cowboys will hit again with defensive end George Selvie, defensive tackle Landon Cohen and, to a degree, defensive end Edgar Jones and linebacker Kyle Bosworth. Selvie and Cohen joined the Cowboys on July 24, a week into training camp, and have spots on the 53-man roster. Selvie could start Sunday against the Giants with Anthony Spencer returning from knee surgery and possibly limited in how much he can play. Jones was picked up in a trade from Kansas City and was probably looking at being cut by the Chiefs before the Cowboys made the deal. Bosworth was picked up off waivers from the Giants. If anything, the Cowboys’ pro department has earned the benefit of the doubt.
2. I wonder if Nate Livings will get a chance to play for the Cowboys this season. Wait, you ask, isn’t he on injured reserve? Yes. That normally ends the player’s chance of playing this season and he was not eligible to put on the new returnable IR list, but the Cowboys could always reach an injury settlement with him. For the sake of argument, let’s say the Cowboys give Livings a two-week settlement. They would need to wait another six weeks before they could bring him back. With Livings’ $1.7 million base salary guaranteed, he gets paid no matter what, but the Cowboys could re-sign him after eight weeks. There is an offset in Livings’ deal that would lighten the Cowboys’ required payment. Should he sign with another team for say, $700,000, then the Cowboys would only owe him $1 million. If the Cowboys went this route, then they would effectively be using the offset themselves where they could get the benefit of seeing Livings play if they need offensive line help.
3. I wonder if the roof and doors at AT&T Stadium will be open for Sunday’s game. The Cowboys have had them open for three of the games against the Giants and closed for one game. The common theme in the four games has been a close Dallas lost. The four games have been decided by 16 total points. Jason Garrett said the club will make a collective decision on the stadium’s configuration for Sunday. Jerry Jones has made no secret that he prefers to have the roof open for night games because of the overhead shot on either ESPN or NBC. It might be aesthetically pleasing, but is it athletically the correct thing to do? The Cowboys spent their summer in Oxnard, Calif., where the temperatures rarely if ever got above 75 degrees. They have practiced outside in the Texas heat just six times since they returned home. The forecast for Sunday calls for a high of 96 degrees. There’s no doubt it will be humid too. With depth being an issue and the conditioning of starters like Anthony Spencer, Morris Claiborne and possibly Ronald Leary in question, why not keep the roof and doors closed to control the temperature?
4. As we’ve mentioned just a few times since the Cowboys made their final cuts on Saturday, they chose to keep just four cornerbacks. It’s a curious move, but they will have access to a fifth cornerback for Sunday. I wonder if the Cowboys call up Micah Pellerin from the practice squad by 3 p.m. CT Saturday and get him on the gameday roster. The position crunch might not be that bad in the long-term because the Cowboys do not use a dime package (six defensive backs) but with Claiborne coming off a prolonged absence it makes more sense to go heavier at cornerback than lighter.
5. The Pellerin talk brings the final wonder: I wonder who the 53rd player on the roster is. The Cowboys have six safeties on the roster, which is heavy, but Frampton and Danny McCray are battling back from injuries, so I can’t see them removing one of the safeties from the mix. I can’t see them taking away any of their defensive linemen either. We can eliminate quarterback, specialists, running back (at least for Week 1 if Lance Dunbar can’t play), wide receiver, tight end and linebacker from the list too. So that leaves offensive line. The Cowboys might like Darrion Weems as a developmental tackle, but he does not have a chance to get to the game, as coaches like to say. If they were to make a move, I would say Weems would be the first to go, but not necessarily be forgotten. If he were to clear waivers, then he could be re-signed to the practice squad.