As the Dallas Cowboys navigate their way through known suspensions and possible others, expect the final 53 to be anything but final in the first month.
On September 2, many NFL hopefuls will have their dreams put on hold as the NFL cuts rosters down.
For the Dallas Cowboys, a few players will have their dreams extended. This is a result of bad decisions made by their teammates in the offseason. Not only did the Cowboys lead the NFC in wins in 2016, they lead the league in suspensions in 2017.
Defensive end David Irving will miss the first four games due to a PED suspension. He’s certainly not alone in the front seven however.
Two other players on the defense could possibly miss time depending on the random wheel of punishment employed by the NFL.
Of course, the whammy came last week when we learned running back Ezekiel Elliott could miss the first six games due to a domestic violence incident. Elliott will appeal and could be available for the first couple of games. He could also lose that appeal and earn a longer suspension.
No one really knows when Commissioner Roger Goodell is in charge.
Whatever the actual number of games ends up being, players will definitely be unavailable. Whether it’s three guys or five, opportunities exist.
One thing is absolutely certain.
The forty-six man roster that plays on September 10 will be vastly different than the 46 who take the field on October 8.
Fringe guys on both sides have a lot to play for this preseason. With most of the time missing from the defensive end, a sixth receiver may not be an option. All of a sudden, a possible trade of Alfred Morris is likely also off the table.
Guys like Lewis Neal who would have been candidates for the practice squad, now could make the team and stick. A sixth cornerback like Marquez White may have an extra month to showcase his skills and prove his belongs.
Regardless of who the players will be, the opportunity gives head coach Jason Garrett a chance to preach “fight” once more. Several players will be fighting for their NFL life.
Maybe that intensity in practice translates to gameday. Maybe that competition helps keep the team afloat while talent is wearing street clothes.
Either way, do not expect the final 53-man roster named on September 2 to be final. There are a lot of moving pieces in play.