But they are starting to see role players play bigger roles. Terrance Williams has two of the bigger catches of the last two games and might be more than a role player. Then there’s tight ends James Hanna and Gavin Escobar, running backs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar and fullback Tyler Clutts.
Hanna has been a staple to the two-tight end package, but when the Cowboys got the running game going late in the win against the Seattle Seahawks it was with Escobar on the field. Randle had more rushing yards against the Seahawks (52) than Eddie Lacy, Ryan Mathews, Montee Ball and Alfred Morris had against the Seahawks. Dunbar had a crucial role as a pass-catcher. Clutts was a big part of the game-winning drive, too.
Escobar (24) and Randle (10) had a season high in snaps against the Seahawks. Dunbar’s 13 snaps were the second-most he has had in a game. Clutts matched his season high with 14.
It is not the job of the coaches to make sure the role players are ready. Their job is to make sure Romo, Murray, Bryant and Witten can impact the game. It’s up to the role players to be ready, according to coach Jason Garrett.
"I think everyone understands the importance of their role, whether they’re a starter or a backup," Garrett said. "You have to prepare as if you’re the starter. Each of those guys will go in the game if something happens to the starter, and each of those guys will have a role for us -- on offense, defense or in the kicking game. They have to get themselves mentally ready and emotionally ready to play, and we think it’s a good thing that everybody is involved. The way NFL rosters are structured, you better get everybody involved. Everyone is really close to playing a lot, and they’re certainly going to play some if they have a uniform on, on Sunday afternoon. Each of those guys, at different times, stepped up in positive ways for our team."