OXNARD, Calif. -- Two preseason games are in the books and two more remain. The Dallas Cowboys still have plenty of things to wonder about.
Here we bring you five in the often imitated, never duplicated Five Wonders.
Away we go:
1. Kyle Wilber started at middle linebacker Sunday against the 49ers. When the Cowboys drafted him in 2012 he was a defensive end transitioning to outside linebacker. In 2013, he played defensive end before switching to outside linebacker. He played both spots last season and has added middle linebacker to his duties now. What's the fallout of such a move? I wonder if Jasper Brinkley is on the roster bubble. The Cowboys guaranteed him $2 million on a two-year deal he signed in the offseason. He received a $1.25 million bonus and $750,000 of his $1 million base salary is guaranteed. If the Cowboys cut Brinkley, he would cost them $375,000 in cap space this year and $625,000 in cap space next year. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a ton of room but if he doesn't make it they would be swallowing a free-agent mistake.
2. The Cowboys' search for their third tackle continues, and I wonder if it will continue outside the building as well as inside the building. Darrion Weems has been spotty. If he makes it, the Cowboys will have to hold their breath if he is pressed into a role. They held their breath with Jermey Parnell for a few years as well when they took a chance on him as their swing tackle. But I wonder if the Cowboys give a look to La'el Collins and Zack Martin as possible options. I don't want to move Martin but they might not have a choice. The Cowboys did it with Larry Allen back in the day and he excelled even if he was a Hall of Fame guard. Martin is smart enough to know how to keep himself out of trouble if he needs to work in space. Collins was a tackle at LSU but the Cowboys have settled him in at guard. Can he be the emergency tackle? If they want to go that route, they need to start the process right about now.
3. Let's work off the premise the Cowboys will keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster to start the season in Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden. I wonder if it would make more sense to keep Jameill Showers on the practice squad than Dustin Vaughan. It's not that Showers is a better quarterback prospect than Vaughan, but he can do more in practice. The third-team quarterback gets only a couple of snaps a week in running the scout team. Showers can take those, but he can also cover kicks and punts. If needed, he can do a better job impersonating some of the quarterbacks the Cowboys will face this season, such as Russell Wilson, because of his movement skills. I'm not ready to say the Cowboys won't keep a third quarterback on the 53-man roster, but this move could open some options at the final cuts.
4. Let's stick with putting together a 53-man roster for this wonder as well. I wonder if the Cowboys keep four receivers, not five. Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are locks. I think (but don't know) if Devin Street is a lock. I like what Lucky Whitehead has done. Guys such as A.J. Jenkins, David Porter and Nick Harwell have had moments, too. Whitehead could be the returner, but I don't know what other role he plays. The Cowboys could go with Lance Dunbar and Beasley as kick and punt returners. Would the Cowboys' fifth receiver be active? I'm not sure. If there is a question, then why keep five? They could keep three on the practice squad and go with a quasi 54-man roster if needed. Remember, tight end Gavin Escobar could be used in a wide receiver role, too.
5. After Sunday's performance against the 49ers, the Cowboys have said this is a big work week. But I wonder if they will be thinking of home more than practice. Garrett opted to keep the Cowboys in Oxnard, California, for another week of practice instead of traveling home following the second preseason game. The Cowboys are closing in on a month at the River Ridge Residence Inn. I understand that they are professional athletes and Garrett constantly says "be your best regardless of circumstances," but they are human, too. It's time to get home.