A tough upcoming matchup versus the Los Angeles Chargers just got even more challenging for the Dallas Cowboys, who are looking for their first victory of the season. Starting defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence exited practice Wednesday with a foot injury. Further examination revealed that Lawrence suffered a broken bone in his foot that will keep him off the field until at least November.
Earlier this week, the Cowboys announced that fellow starting defensive end Randy Gregory tested positive for Covid-19 and is not expected to return in time to play. With both Gregory and Lawrence out for the game, edge rushing duties will fall to five-year pro Tarell Basham and Dorance Armstrong who is playing in his fourth season with the Cowboys. COmbined, the two players have started 15 games.
Basham had his best two seasons while playing for the New York Jets. He recorded two sacks and 32 tackles in 2019 while starting in two of the 16 games he was active for. In the 2020 season, Basham started in nine games, recording 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He also had the only interception of his career that season.
Armstrong started two games in 2020, accumulating 32 tackles and a forced fumble. He was active for all 16 games last year. He had two assists while giving Gregory a break last week versus Tampa Bay. Basham was also on the field last week and contributed to two tackles in the narrow defeat.
The injury to Lawrence is described as a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot which occurred on a “routine pass-rush” that NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported as “nothing remarkable.” The injury typically heals in eight to 12 weeks and 90% of injured players are able to return to normal playing activities within four months. The bone in question is on the outside of the foot between the ankle and small toe.
Lawrence registered two pressures, two QB hits, and five tackles against Tampa Bay according to NextGen Stats. His skills as a pass rusher will be missed as the Cowboys face one of the league’s emerging stars in quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert has shown that he has the ability to burn defenses when forced out of the pocket or when given time to survey the field, which could present problems for the Cowboys if the two backup rushers are unable to control him. Herbert completed 31 passes for 337 yards against the Washington Football Team in Week One action.
The Cowboys announced that free safety Malik Turner has been activated from the injury report after suffering a torn ACL last season. Turner was not a participant in last week’s game, but has the ability to add speed and ball-hawking skills that could prevent a repeat of the 379-yard performance Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady put up last week, particularly if Gregory is unable to clear Covid-19 protocol in time for the game.