ATLANTA -- In figuring out a game-day roster, the first thing you do is take out the injured players.
Smith will miss his first game of the season because of a groin injury suffered in last week’s win against the Kansas City Chiefs. He did not practice all week, so it was not much of a surprise when he was ruled out on Saturday.
Swaim did not practice Friday because of a knee injury. He could need surgery that would knock him out of couple of weeks. Rookie Blake Jarwin will make his debut after he was called up from the practice squad two weeks ago. In the last few games, the Cowboys have used more two- and three-tight end sets, so Swaim’s absence won’t be insignificant.
Bailey has missed the last two games and is likely going to miss a few more because of a groin strain.
The Cowboys signed defensive tackle Daniel Ross off the Chiefs’ practice squad on Saturday, so he will be the fourth inactive.
The final three spots are a little harder to figure out. The Cowboys called up defensive tackle Lewis Neal from the practice squad this week after Brian Price was lost to knee surgery. Defensive back Chidobe Awuzie was able to practice more this week in his comeback from a hamstring strain. Neither is a must-add, although the Cowboys like to go heavy along the defensive line if they can.
When the Falcons’ offense gets going, they play at a high tempo. Having more defensive linemen makes sense for Dallas. But then what do the Cowboys do with linebackers Justin Durant and Justin March-Lillard? Of the two, March-Lillard can play special teams, so that gives him an edge on Durant.
So, my guess at the inactives is Bailey, Smith, Swaim, Ross, Awuzie, Neal and Durant.