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Cowboys go deep to bolster front lines

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Posted Sept. 04, 2011 @ 6:33 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Two positions that saw the most change in the offeason also were given the deepest reserves on the opening 53-man roster to start the season.

The offensive line, which sent Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis packing, kept 10 members, including a legitimate two-deep at every spot. Part of that has to do with the fact that the Cowboys are starting two rookies (OLG Bill Nagy and ORT Tyron Smith) and a third player (C Phil Costa) with only five career starts. Costa's health is in some question for the opening game on Sunday, so the team also opted to keep Kevin Kowalski, who did a nice job in Costa's place in the preseason.

The defensive line looked to be a six-player position all along, but the Cowboys kept seven, including promising tease Clifton Geathers, who has wowed scouts with his measurables but never has matched those with his play on the field. Geathers stood out in the preseason, which was the difference between making the roster and not. Losing Stephen Bowen and cutting Igor Olshansky meant more turnover at the position, which probably was the difference in keeping the seventh man up front.

These two positions, along with keeping four special-teams specialists (two kickers splitting duties), means that other positions got short shrift, including linebacker (seven players), cornerback (five, including two starters with injury concerns) and running back (four). A few more adjustments to the roster may be in the offing, however, as veteran OG Derrick Dockery, formerly with the Redskins, is likely to be signed by Monday.

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