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Cowboys Face Final Roster Decisions

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Cowboys made their first cuts of training camp on Monday, dropping to 75 players with a little more than a week to go before they kick off the season against the Giants.

    While the Cowboys have a lot of getting healthy to do between now and then, they don't have much housekeeping to do when it comes to setting the roster. By our count, 44 of the 53 spots on the roster that the Cowboys will have to turn in on Friday have been spoken for and that leaves very few veterans on the bubble at this point in time.

    We'll take a look today at the remaining question marks to see what players will be sweating out the last few days of the preseason.

    Stephen McGee - Unless McGee does something really remarkable in the preseason finale, the Cowboys will likely stick with two quarterbacks on the active roster and add a third to the practice squad. That won't be McGee, but it could be Rudy Carpenter.

    Second Fullback/Fourth Tight End - The choice between fullback Shaun Chapas and tight end Andrew Szczerba will come down to which one contributes more on special teams and the outlook for Jason Witten at the start of the season. We'll lean toward Szczerba at this point because Witten's chances of being 100 percent for Sept. 5 down feel so good.

    Wide Receiver - It looks like Cole Beasley, Danny Coale and Andre Holmes are battling for two spots after Dwayne Harris' strong performance against the Rams. Beasley and Coale have overlapping skills, but the Cowboys need more help in the slot than they need on the outside. Coale hasn't worked much because of injury, but he's not likely to pass through waivers to get back onto the practice squad and the Cowboys won't punt a draft pick so easily.

    Marcus Spears/Clifton Geathers - It's a classic training camp conundrum. Spears has experience without upside and a bigger salary than the physically imposing but raw Geathers at defensive end. With Sean Lissemore showing signs of stepping up and Josh Brent able to let Ratliff slide outside at times, we'd go with the potential and cost savings.

    Safety - The Cowboys have a pretty serious conundrum when it comes to fourth-rounder Matt Johnson. He's been hurt and hasn't practiced much, but that won't get him through waivers and onto the practice squad. Putting him on injured reserve would make this a lost season, but keeping him on the 53 might mean saying goodbye to a player who can help more right away than Johnson.

    There are other spots up for grabs on the offensive line and at inside linebacker, but the winners of those battles will be on the fringe of the roster from day one. Players will also get cut in other places, so keep your eye on those spots, as well as safety, for possible waiver claims by the Cowboys over the weekend.