ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 29: Phillip Tanner #34 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball past Austin Spitler #53 of the Miami Dolphins during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on August 29, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Later today, I’ll be unveiling my Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster prediction here at NBC. Last night’s 30-13 win for the Cowboys over the Dolphins was the last chance at player evaluation for the Cowboys’ coaches, although I think people generally place too much stock in the final preseason contest. For the most part, the 53-man roster has pretty much already been decided.
The lone exceptions are the few “bubble” players out there—the Lance Dunbar and Adrian Hamilton-type players. For them, last night’s contest could very well be what decides their fate in Dallas. I’ve watched the game and re-watched the film, and here are my notes on a handful of guys who could see themselves on either side of the bubble next week.
RB Phillip Tanner
Tanner returned to the form we saw in the 2011 preseason, displaying a nice combination or burst and power. I really liked Tanner last season, and I still like him a lot. Plagued by injury to begin the preseason, he’s probable to land on the final roster, although he’s still fighting with this guy. . .
RB Lance Dunbar
Dunbar tore it up last night, rushing for 105 yards on 15 carries, including a 58-yard touchdown. Yeah, Dunbar is only 5’8’’, but he’s a rock-solid 195 pounds and is hard to bring to the ground. Could the ‘Boys potentially keep both Tanner and Dunbar? It seems like a longshot with the team’s holes around the roster, but I don’t think the Cowboys can sneak Dunbar onto the practice squad after last night’s effort.
Jamize Olawale had another solid night, averaging 7.6 yards-per-carry on the ground, but I have a feeling the ‘Boys will keep either Dunbar or Tanner over him.
WR Danny Coale
Other than a spectacular one-handed catch over the middle last night, Coale really showed nothing all preseason. I liked him coming out of college, but I don’t think he’s going to make the final roster.
WR Andre Holmes
Holmes is one of the primary reasons Coale might be sent packing. He hauled in one catch for 32 yards last night, and he showed well in the Cowboys’ preseason tilt with the Chargers as well.
QB Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter
I’m pretty confident the Cowboys will roll with only two quarterbacks. Both players have been really poor this preseason, and even though McGee was born on the exact same day as me, I don’t think that will be enough for Jason Garrett to keep him around. They combined to go 13-for-28 for 166 yards last night.
LB Orie Lemon
Lemon had a he game last night, accruing six tackles and taking an interception to the house. He’ll be on the final roster.
LB Alex Albright
Albright might have been the Cowboys’ top-performing defensive player last night, totaling 11 tackles and a sack. It is going to be an immensely difficult decision for the Cowboys on whether they keep Albright, in my opinion, simply because the have so many young players at the position.
Check back later today for my 53-man roster projection.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.
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