As you'd imagine, we've spent a lot of time this week talking about the Cowboys' injuries and other personnel issues ahead of tomorrow's game against the Chargers. But Los Angeles has its own problems going into Week 2, and one in particular which could help offset Dallas' deficiencies.
Yesterday Bryan Bulaga, the Chargers' starting right tackle, was placed on injured reserve with back issues. This will pull Storm Norton, an undrafted free agent from 2017 with only three career starts, onto the 1st-team offense for Sunday.
Dallas will definitely be without their top defensive player, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, after a broken foot has landed him on IR for about the first half of the season. They also expect for the other starting DE, Randy Gregory, to be out tomorrow after going into the COVID-19 protocol.
Gregory still has a slim chance of being active if he can get the required negative tests, but like Zack Martin last week it's not expected he will make it to Los Angeles.
Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham are the expected starters at DE tomorrow for Dallas. While going up against 1st-round wunderkind Rashawn Slater at left tackle will be a tough ask, not having to face Bulaga on the right side will make life easier for the backup pass rushers.
#DALvsLAC Game Status
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) September 17, 2021
Another confirmed absence for Sunday is starting CB Chris Harris due to a shoulder issue. That helps offset the absence of WR Michael Gallup for the Cowboys, who is now on IR after a calf injury in the season opener. This will put rookie Asante Samuel Jr. to the test with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb still on the field.
The Chargers may also be limited in the secondary if safety Nasir Adderley can't go. While Derwin James has returned to practice and is full go for tomorrow, Adderley was a limited participant yesterday with a groin injury and his game status has not been confirmed.
Justin Jones is a starting DE in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme and will likely be out after missing practice all week. The next man up on L.A.'s depth chart is former Cowboy Christian Covington, who spent 2019 with Dallas before leaving in free agency.
So yes, the Cowboys have a lot to be worried about thanks to the aforementioned injuries and the suspension of RT La'el Collins. But at least tomorrow's opponent has their own concerns and some of them could directly offset Dallas' issues.
Can the Cowboys overcome the roster problems and get their first win of 2021? We'll see how much both teams' injuries and absences affect tomorrow's game.