With a Monday night playoff game on the slate against Tampa Bay, the Dallas Cowboys will see a chance for three starters to return to the lineup for their matchup.
Cowboys continue to expect to have LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck), DT Johnathan Hankins (pectoral strain), C Tyler Biadasz (ankle) and CB DaRon Bland (chest) available for Monday night’s wild card game at Tampa Bay.
Mike McCarthy: “Everything is pointing up.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 9, 2023
Getting those guys back would be a massive boost for the Cowboys. People need to understand how important LVE has been to this football team. Hankins is the big body run stuffer that can jump back in and help clog the middle of the run defense. DaRon Bland was also banged up, but he will be good to go on Monday.
As for Biadasz, if he can return to the lineup, even in a limited fashion, it would help get the offensive line to look a bit normal again. If Biadasz can return this week, the team would not need to shift right for Connor McGovern and Tyler Smith.
Last week, the team opened the 21-day practice window on interior offensive lineman Matt Farniok. He was the original backup to Biadasz, and he was put on injured reserve in week eight due to a hamstring injury. Adding his depth would align with the Cowboys' OL being able to function like usual again.
One way or another, all three of these players will help. Both sides of the ball have to be better on Monday against the Bucs. Let's not let one meaningless game overshadow the overall success the team has had this season.
The Cowboys have yet to lose two games in a row all season. They have responded after a loss this year time and time again.
LVE is the biggest name on her that the team has missed the most.
Before he went down with an injury, he was the teams leading tackler. While in a contract year, many thought he wouldn't be a Cowboy after this season. He may have earned himself something this offseason and may hold things together if he can produce starting Monday night.
Look. We can spin this any way we want to, but for a team who has put themselves in a position to win a playoff game after a 12-win season, all the negative talk is weird.
Let's get these starters back and go to work on Monday night. If they lose, we can bash them, but returning three starters to the lineup should make us feel good until that happens.
We will see how the week plays out, but with the extra day will also give Dallas a little more time to get healthy ahead of Monday's showdown with Tom Brady. They will need as many hands on deck as possible.