Changes to the rules of the list? Neal at S?
For a team with so few resources secured and a group of stacked linebackers, why are we paying Keanu Neal to move up to linebacker? I would be perfectly happy with LVE, Parsons, Smith, Cox as a starting LB. Does Keanu Neal have more value as a security? – AMOS LONGSTREET / ROSEVILLE, CA
David: I have to be honest, I was quite shocked when we heard that Neal would be playing linebacker. For all the reasons you just listed, it seems logical that it works safely. That said, the defensive coordinator has worked with Neal for the past five years and should have a clear idea of his strengths and weaknesses. I have no problem trusting Dan Quinn that this is a good idea. Although I am worried about the depth of the safety point.
Rob: Don’t forget another ex-Falcon who played for Quinn, Damontae Kazee, was brought in to be more of a cover security. Kazee and Donovan Wilson could be a solid combo. With Neal at linebacker, it looks like Quinn is looking to add some speed to position and a secure tackle that can presumably help solidify things against the run. Look at how Dallas drafted – that’s by far the biggest priority. Also, last year we saw the Cowboys essentially drop safeties as linebackers in some packages, so it’s not a whole new concept.
The Cowboys suffered several injuries last year. As players demonstrate resilience in recovery, do you think there will be a call to expand the list beyond the COVID allocation? – CARL DORSEY / BUFFALO, TX
David: Nothing has been made official yet, but there have been several reports that the league is considering keeping several of their changed roster rules from 2020. I’m strongly in favor of that. It always seemed silly that a sport with so many injuries had such big limits on who could come back from the injured reserve, and how quickly that could happen. And the extended practice squad has clearly benefited everyone – teams and players. We may have to wait a bit to see what the league decides, but I’ll go ahead and assume we’ll see many of these changes continue to move forward.
Rob: NFL Network said yesterday that last year’s IR comeback rules and 16-player practice squads will likely stay in place, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the 55-player roster on game day did too. We are still in a pandemic and cases of COVID are still possible, even though things (thankfully) are improving. It makes sense to renew these rules for at least a year