The injuries keep piling up for the Dallas Cowboys, putting pressure on the second-and third-string players to step up their game. Last week, the Cowboys defeated the LA Chargers while missing both starting defensive ends. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn should get credit for making smart moves to ensure the team could be competitive.
This week, Quinn will need to be just as creative, as the Cowboys announced Monday that defensive tackle Carlos Watkins suffered a knee injury, while backup defensive end Dorance Armstrong went down with an ankle injury. Neither player has yet to be ruled out of the Monday Night Football showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Dallas will need to use the same rotating scheme again to ensure success.
Both Watkins and Armstrong are currently listed as questionable for the match-up. Both players were on the field for 25 snaps against LA. The Cowboys expect to get Randy Gregory back from the Covid list in time to play on Monday. Should Gregory and Armstrong be unavailable on Monday, duties will fall to Brent Urban with the likelihood that Chauncey Golston will be inactive with a hamstring injury. Chauncey is listed on the injury report but was a full participant in practice last week.
On the offensive side of the ball, star wide receiver Amari Cooper suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter. The injury is being looked at as a case of bruised ribs. The team will evaluate Cooper on Wednesday and Thursday to determine if he will be ready to play on Monday. Should Cooper be unable to go, pressure will fall on CeeDee Lamb and backup Noah Brown to provide targets for Dak Prescott.
Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that he is hopeful the rib injury will not sideline Cooper, but a decision hasn’t yet been made.
“I don’t know today,” said Jones. “I’m hopeful those ribs can get comfortable enough for him to play by the weekend, but I don’t know.”
Michael Gallup, who has shown flashes of break-out performance potential, is also dealing with a calf injury and was placed on short-term injured reserve last week. In his absence, Cedric Wilson will be called on to be the third receiver. Wilson had two receptions on two targets against LA for a total of 20 yards. Gallup could be available by Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers at the Star.
With Gregory coming off the Covid list, the Cowboys no longer have any players in protocol. This is the first time this season that no players on the team have undergone the league’s safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. The team has had at least seven players and a coach on the Covid list this season.
The Dallas Cowboys coaches will need to continue shuffling players as injuries mount, but at least after two weeks of play, it appears that the issues the team faced last season have primarily been nullified. With an extra game this season, staying healthy in the early going will have a more significant impact than in previous seasons.