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Cowboys Have Too Many Kickers



    Roster construction can be a tricky business in the NFL.

    Do you keep a fourth tight end who is only useful as a blocker or do you go with an extra defensive back who you feel can be a big contributor on special teams? You drafted that disappointing wideout in the third round so you feel he has talent, but it is it enough to outweigh the fact that the undrafted defensive end is making plays every day in practice? General managers are well compensated to make decisions like that.

    The Cowboys don't have a general manager, of course, and perhaps that's why their roster construction issues border on the absurd. The team has two punters and two kickers on the active roster right now which means that when you add long snapper L.P. LaDouceur, you've got almost 10 percent of the roster devoted to guys who play a handful of snaps each week.

    Chris Jones got called up to the active roster before the Seattle game because of Mat McBriar's foot injury, something that the team had to do to ensure they had a healthy punter. We're now getting close to the Buffalo game and there's no sign whether or not McBriar can punt against Buffalo. If he can't, the Cowboys might just need to bite the bullet and put him on injured reserve so that they make better use of the limited space on their roster.

    The punter situation is easier to understand than the continued existence of two kickers on the active roster. Dan Bailey has done a great job on field goals and he was more than passable kicking off in the games David Buehler missed because of injury. Buehler gets a lot of touchbacks, but whatever benefit you glean from those kicks would be the same if the Cowboys used that spot for an excellent special teamer who might even make plays in other phases of the game.

    This week finds a harsher spotlight on the roster squeeze because the Cowboys need a wide receiver to take Miles Austin's spot. Dwayne Harris is likely coming up from the practice squad, but if you aren't sure about McBriar and unwilling to cut Buehler you're going to lose someone who isn't a specialist to make room for Harris.

    That would be unacceptable. At some point, Jerry Jones and company are going to have to accept that you can only afford luxury items (of which Buehler is certainly one) if you're able to pay the mortgage on your house. Otherwise you're just a dope watching a flatscreen in a house that's going to belong to the bank sooner rather than later.

    There might not be any teams good enough to build their roster this way and the Cowboys certainly aren't the exception to that rule.