The Dallas Cowboys made a number of roster changes ahead of the team’s Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Key pass rusher Tarell Basham was placed on injured reserve while the team also released rookie nose tackle John Ridgeway. Dallas’ decision to keep Dak Prescott on the active roster partially resulted in Ridgeway’s release as the Cowboys have three quarterbacks on the 53-man.
Basham will miss at least four games as he recovers from a quad injury. The veteran defenseman played in all 17 games for Dallas last season, including six starts, 39 tackles, 11 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Dallas added both quarterback Cooper Rush and kicker Brett Maher to the 53-man roster, meaning they no longer have to be promoted from the team’s practice squad every week. The Cowboys also raised Will Grier and center Alec Lindstrom from the practice squad.
Grier will now serve as the team’s backup quarterback as Dak Prescott is sidelined. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported the Cowboys plan to re-sign Ridgeway, but the rookie will be subject to waivers where the defenseman can be claimed by another team.
“Two roster spots left: Cowboys relinquished rookie NT John Ridgeway and placed DE Tarell Basham (hamstring) on injured reserve, two people familiar with decisions said,” Gehlken tweeted Sept. 17. but he must first release waivers on Monday at 3:00 pm CT.
As a senior in Arkansas, Ridgeway had 39 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks in his 11 appearances in 2021. Dallas selected Ridgeway number 178 overall in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft. Earlier in the draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein described the pass rusher as a “rotational lineman with upside.”
“College nose tackle with the size and length to consider inside or as an unusual front defensive end,” explained Zierlein in his preliminary draft profile. “Ridgeway is more a wrestler than a gap eater when it comes to blocks for a nose. It is likely to be coveted by trait-based reviewers looking to develop the physical ingredients into a more sophisticated product.
“Although he has most of his experience in nose tackle, the sum of his parts might make more sense as a 3-4 defensive end where his long arms and natural power would be more beneficial as an edge setter. Regardless of his position, he won’t be of much help as a pass rusher, so rotating lineman with upside will likely become his Day 3 prospect.”
As the Cowboys reshuffle the roster in preparation for the Bengals, all eyes remain on the quarterbacks while Prescott recovers. Rush will take offense as a temporary starter, while Grier will be the backup. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy expects the offensive game plan to look similar when the team’s star quarterback is on the field.
“As for Cooper Rush, we don’t feel like there’s really any limitations on what we want to do,” McCarthy said during a Sept. 15 news conference. “He’s as proficient at this offense as anyone. Him and Kellen, they go back to when I came here, and that’s really how we’re going about it. And it’s no different with left guard, left tackle – it’s all part of the game plan process.”