Mailbag: Tough Roster Decisions Ahead?

I’m eagerly awaiting the return of some key players (D-Law, Neville Gallimore, Michael Gallup and La’el Collins, to name just a few). But I’m also starting to worry that we simply won’t have enough roster spots and we might have to let some good players go that will get picked up by other teams. Is this a real worry or am I over thinking it? – DAVID NYSTROM / LOUDON, TN

Rob: I wouldn’t call it a “worry.” It’s a reality that decisions will have to be made. I call it a good problem. You’re right, all the players you mentioned are currently on reserve lists, so roster moves will have to be made to get them back on the 53. It speaks to the team’s depth. But not every player will be back at the same time, so the Cowboys will likely be able to stagger those returns. The Cowboys obviously hope there aren’t any more multi-week injuries requiring an IR spot, but that’s always a possibility as the season moves along, and if it does, that would be one way to create roster space.

David: My experience tells me that these things always have a way of working themselves out. As Jerry Jones likes to say, it’s kind of like holding a fistful of Jell-O – as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on it, you’ve got problems leaking out the other side. There are moves they can make on the back end of the roster to free up space. And, unfortunately, other guys are going to get hurt as we move through the season. It’s not something I’d worry too much about.

With Jabril Cox getting more snaps, do you see the possibility of Leighton Vander Esch, Keanu Neal and Cox at the linebacker position with Parsons lining up as a defensive end? – DAN RENTZEL / HARRISBURG, PA

Rob: Maybe in some situations eventually. Not sure when, or if, Jabril Cox’s snap count will dramatically increase this season, though. He only got four defensive snaps Sunday working in the goal line package. The Cowboys like his talent and approach, but as Mike McCarthy said Monday, it’s a little different role for him than college, so there’s an adjustment period here. Plus, it’s clear that the Cowboys don’t want to play Parsons exclusively at defensive end at this point. He’s going to move around based on matchups and needs.

David: All at once, or just in general? I wouldn’t expect to see them together much, just because we don’t see a ton of base defense these days. But Dan Quinn talked Monday about how he thinks Cox will earn some third down opportunities as the season goes along, so we know they trust him to handle some (likely) nickel situations. I still maintain that Micah isn’t going to make a full-time switch, but his use will vary depending on the opponent. To answer your question more directly, I think it’s totally possible – maybe even likely – that at some point we’ll see Jabril Cox at linebacker while Micah Parsons works as an edge rusher.

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