After not making it out of the first round of the playoffs last season, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is feeling the heat. The pressure is mounting on him to prove that the front office made the right move in bringing in the former Super Bowl winner.
In order to get his team to the playoffs, he will need every piece of his 53-man roster to work together and perform.
Entering his third season with the club, McCarthy has been putting his fingerprints on this roster and arguably needs a win in the playoffs in order to secure his job. As he looks to make this happen, he will need help beyond the starting 11 on either side of the ball. These are the three reserves he will lean heaviest on.
3 most important Dallas Cowboys who aren’t starters
3. Matt Waletzko or Josh Ball, OT
It’s not meant as a cop-out to have two names at No. 3 but rather an indication that the swing tackle position isn’t 100 percent settled. Josh Ball was a fourth-round pick out of Marshall in 2021. While he had the talent to go higher than this, there were some off-field concerns that kept some teams from having him on their board.
As a rookie, Ball never played, spending the year on IR. He’s likely the favorite to win the swing tackle job, but we can’t overlook Matt Waletzko.
A fifth-round pick this season out of North Dakota, Waletzko could be a steal for Dallas. With Ball missing the entire 2021 season, they should be on even ground in this training camp battle.
Whoever ends up winning it should be penciled in for at least a few starts this season. Tyron Smith hasn’t played a full schedule since 2015, missing three games in each campaign from 2016 through 2019 and a total of 20 the past two years. We’ve seen this team fall apart in the past with poor play from the backups, so Ball or Waletzko could wind up being very important.