Dallas Cowboys: Bye week thoughts and roster changes


To say that the Dallas Cowboys bye week couldn’t have come at a better time would be an understatement.

America’s Team is entering their bye week on a three-game losing streak and are still feeling the effects of losing two of their best players and team leaders in quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Normally, I’m one of those people that doesn’t really like an early season bye week. But the way the Cowboys season has shaped up thus far in 2015,  it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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For the coaching staff it is a time for them to reevaluate what’s been working and what can be improved upon, as well as making any kind of roster changes might need to be made.

You might have already noticed that head coach Jason Garrett has already made some tough decisions and promoted Matt Cassel to the starting quarterback, much to the delight of many fans. Garrett has also replaced starting left guard Ronald Leary with talented rookie offensive lineman La’el Collins.

These two roster moves in particular suggests that the evaluation process has already begun and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other decisions that are made leading up to the week 7 matchup against the division rival New York Giants.

Fans should also be delighted that Garrett has announced that Christine Michael should get more opportunities in the running game going forward.

These are some important announcements regarding what the organization might be trying to accomplish going forward for the rest of the 2015 season.

I thought I would take the opportunity to express some of the things I would be evaluating and considering for the Cowboys during the bye week.

  • With Christine Michael getting more of an opportunity in the running game, how will the carries end up being split? I think it could look something like a 60/30/10 split for Michael, Joseph Randle, and Darren McFadden. The Cowboys obviously aren’t happy with what they are receiving from both Randle and McFadden and are hoping that Michael can boost the production of the running game.
  • Is Dez Bryant pushing it too hard to try to get back on the field? I think I would be more concerned about Bryant being fully healthy and recovered from his foot surgery before I even consider letting him take a step on the field. He is a big part of the future of the organization and shouldn’t risk coming back early if he’s not 100% healthy.
  • How will offensive coordinator Scott Linehan find ways to help out the wide receivers become more consistent in the passing game? None of the current healthy wide receivers on the roster exactly strike fear in the opposing defenses. Cole Beasley seems to be the only one receiver that can consistently win one-on-one matchups, but we saw what happens when defenses focus on keeping him contained when they game plan for him like they did in the game against the New England Patriots. It might be a good idea for Linehan to incorporate some crossing or rub routes like the Patriots used successfully against the Cowboys to help out the passing game.
  • Should rookie defensive back Byron Jones become a full-time starter at the safety position? Jones showed his talent and competitiveness when he shadowed one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL when he was assigned the task to help contain Rob Gronkowski. He is much better in coverage then Barry Church or J.J. Wilcox, and looks as if he is ready to become the full-time starter.
  • How does defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli plan on incorporating all of the pass rushers now that Randy Gregory is fully healthy and Greg Hardy is back from his suspension? This defense could be what helps the Cowboys survive until Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are both fully healthy and ready to play. Both Hardy and Gregory could help the entire defense by putting pressure on opposing offenses and their quarterbacks.
  • With Matt Cassel named as the new quarterback, I would be interested in learning from him what types of route combinations and other offensive plays he favors. Every quarterback has their favorite types of plays and it would be a good idea to find out which ones he is most confident executing.

These are just a few of the ideas running through my head that I hope that the coaching staff are at least looking into.

The bye week is a great opportunity to not only reevaluate where you are as a team, but game plan for your next opponent.

To put it simply the Cowboys can afford to squander the work that they put in during the bye week. Otherwise, the season might slip through their fingers.

Let me hear what you hope the Cowboys are focusing on during the bye week in the comment section below.

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