FRISCO, Texas -- Since it’s Tuesday and it’s time for Five Wonders, let’s hit this one off the top: I don’t wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will make a trade before today’s deadline.
Things can change in a hurry, but the Cowboys don’t want to part with significant assets to pick up a player of consequence; nor do I see the Cowboys trading off a piece of their team for a pick in return, although I do wonder if teams are calling about veteran offensive lineman Byron Bell.
So with those two mini-wonders out of the way, let’s get to Five Wonders.
Away we go:
** Nobody is really saying it, but I wonder if Tyron Smith is on the "Romo Wednesday" plan with his back tightness. He has not practiced on a Wednesday in a few weeks. With that being the only day the Cowboys are in pads, they want to ease any of the stress of practice on Smith’s tight back. Former quarterback Tony Romo did not practice on Wednesdays late in his career because of back surgeries, and it seemed to serve him well. Smith could receive the same benefit, although there is something to the timing needed in the run game.
** I wonder if the Cowboys will have two pass-rushers finish the season with double-digit sacks. DeMarcus Lawrence is already there with 10.5 sacks in the first seven games of the season. David Irving has five sacks after missing the first four games of the season because of a suspension. He is on pace for 11. Tyrone Crawford has four sacks and is on pace for nine. With the added attention Lawrence and Irving should see, Crawford could get into the double-digit mix. In case you were wondering, the last time the Cowboys had two defenders with 10 or more sacks in the same season was 2012, when DeMarcus Ware had 11.5 and Anthony Spencer had 11.
** I wonder if the Cowboys will look at Cole Beasley as a potential punt returner, provided he is over the concussion that knocked him out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. Rookie Ryan Switzer has not looked sure of himself at times this season. Maybe the rain was bothering him in Washington. The punt return game has not delivered all that much this season. It’s not really a Cowboys issue. The punters are so good in this league that the big returns are greatly limited. The most important thing is to secure the ball. Beasley can do that. He can make good decisions. He will understand what the game situation dictates.
** Dan Bailey is looking at missing at least the next three games because of a groin strain. Since it is his kicking leg, the Cowboys will be cautious with his return, but I wonder if they will keep two kickers for the rest of the season, even when Bailey is healthy. Why put the stress of kicking off on Bailey? Let Mike Nugent do that and maybe even the superlong field goal attempts. Perhaps it makes sense for Bailey to take the attempts from, say, 45 yards and in. The Cowboys close the year with three of their four games away from home, including two potential cold-weather games in New York and Philadelphia. They will need Bailey’s accuracy on field goals. They can let Nugent do the kickoffs.
** The Cowboys have churned the bottom of their roster lately in their decisions to release Damontre Moore, Kellen Moore and Nolan Carroll. They have to always think ahead of potential moves that nobody sees coming. The Cowboys did not know the Philadelphia Eagles would try to pry away Blake Jarwin, but they were ready to answer by releasing Kellen Moore and bringing him back to the practice squad. I wonder who would be the next to go. Could veteran linebacker Justin Durant be in the crosshairs? He has been slowed by a groin injury and inactive the past two games. What about Bell? He has been inactive the past two games, as well. Ezekiel Elliott’s up-in-the-air status makes it difficult to move on from Darren McFadden.