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DeMarcus Lawrence to Come off PUP List Soon, Eyeing Week 1 Return

Matthew Lenix

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DeMarcus Lawrence to Come off PUP List Soon, Eyeing Week 1 Return

[UPDATE - 11:53 am CST: ESPN's Todd Archer reports that DeMarcus Lawrence is coming off the PUP list today. He is expected to participate in individual drills.]

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The Dallas Cowboys just received a bit of good news to start the week. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, All-Pro Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence will soon be activated off the PUP list.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) is expected to come off the PUP list soon, source says. Lawrence will be limited at first but has been hoping to be ready for Week 1 vs. the #Giants and it looks like that's a reasonable goal.

In April, the Cowboys top pass rusher was in the midst of potentially problematic contract negotiations with the front office, so much so that Lawrence would use holding off surgery on his torn labrum as leverage in the standoff. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and Lawrence signed a 5-year 105 million dollar deal with 65 million in guaranteed money and an average annual salary of 21 million per year.

When you ink a contract that not only makes you the highest-paid player in Cowboys history but also pays out the most guaranteed money in the first year for a non-quarterback there's naturally a moment to reflect and be humble, Lawrence was no different.


"It's just humbling to be in this position, and thank God for everything he has put me through,'' Lawrence said. "Going through the back surgeries and stuff, I thought my career was over. Before I even made a couple of sacks, I thought I would never see this day. I am blessed just to be here, let alone just taking it all in. It's a lot.''

Just days after signing his record-setting deal Lawrence had successful surgery to repair his torn left labrum. With a recovery time of 3-4 months, he would be placed on the PUP list in late July. However, it didn't ruin his enthusiasm about being ready for the season opener.

“The mobility and my strength is coming back naturally,” Lawrence said. “I’m working every day. I’m able to do things. I’m just still limited. Just taking my time. I’ve got time still.”

Being ready for the Cowboys opener against the New York Giants isn't the only goal Lawrence has in the near future. He also has his eyes on breaking Hall Of Famer Michael Strahan's single-season sack record. “My goal is to be the best that’s ever played this game,” Lawrence said at SportsCon 2019 in Dallas last month. “For sure, I want to beat that sack record, make it my own, so he can talk about beating my record. I’m going to just wait until I get to the season and then worry about sacks.”

Lawrence has his long term financial security, he's had successful shoulder surgery and now he's on pace to be ready for the season opener. His 25 sacks over the last two seasons have put him in the conversation with All-Pro's Von Miller, Khalil Mack, and Aaron Donald about who is the NFL's top pass rusher. Barring a setback in the next few weeks, the Cowboys will have their leader on the defensive front for the start of the 2019 season.


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Report: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Could Only Miss One Game

Matthew Lenix

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Report: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Could Only Miss One Game

The Dallas Cowboys might not be without their rising star at free safety as long as they originally thought. According to DallasCowboys.com's Bryan Broaddus, Xavier Woods could only miss this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.


BryanBroaddus on Twitter

They gave him a physical and didn't sign so that tells me a little something. Xavier Woods is not going to be out 4-6 weeks. Might miss one game... https://t.co/EFcpjlZnPH

Woods suffered a high ankle sprain this past Sunday against the Washington Redskins that was supposed to keep him out 4-6 weeks. If he is only out one game that would be amazing news for the Cowboys with the toughest part of their schedule coming up. Safety Darian Thompson is set to start this Sunday opposite Jeff Heath in place of Woods, with rookie Donovan Wilson and Kavon Frazier also their for insurance. Will Xavier Woods be back against the New Orleans Saints next week? Something to keep an eye on. More details to come.


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Devin Smith Has Opportunity to Shine in Michael Gallup’s Absence

John Williams

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Devin Smith Has Opportunity to Shine in Michael Gallup Absence

In the wake of today's news that Michael Gallup will miss the next 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to trim the meniscus in his left knee. Gallup was having another solid game for the Dallas Cowboys when he suffered the injury. It's an unfortunate setback for Gallup was emerging as a go-to player for Dak Prescott in the passing offense.

With Gallup's absence comes an opportunity for other wide receivers on the depth chart. The player most likely to benefit the most is former second-round pick and first-year Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Devin Smith.

Smith exploded on offense for the Cowboys in week two against the Washington Redskins. He had three receptions on three targets for 74 yards and a 51-yard touchdown reception that was the first score of the game for the Dallas Cowboys. After Gallup went down with the injury, Smith was the immediate beneficiary of snaps, catching his other two passes on the drive after Gallup's injury, including one that picked up the first down.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Devin Smith will take on a larger role with Michael Gallup out. This catch yesterday by Smith was his first TD since 2015. He has battled back from two significant knee injuries.

Devin Smith played 26% of the offensive snaps on Sunday and was dynamic and effective in the passing game. Afte the Gallup injury, any time the offense was in 11 personnel (3 wide receivers) Devin Smith was the next man up.

They used Smith on play-action twice and on an RPO signifying their belief in his ability to make plays in the passing game. The former second-round pick from Ohio State has excellent speed and showed out throughout the preseason and training camp to earn his spot on the 53-man roster out of training camp.

In fact, the team felt so good about Smith coming into the season that they were willing to subject both Cedrick Wilson and Jon'vea Johnson to waivers before placing them on the practice squad.


If Michael Gallup does have to sit out for four weeks, then Smith has an excellent opportunity to cement himself within the Dallas Cowboys receiving hierarchy and potentially audition for his next job in 2020, either with the Dallas Cowboys or someone else around the NFL. Smith had likely earned the opportunity to play ahead of Tavon Austin in the offense -- whenever Austin is back -- and how the next two to four weeks go could have a huge impact on the Dallas Cowboys and his own future.

With the emergence of Michael Gallup toward the end of 2018 and to start the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys offense has been much healthier and balanced. It hasn't had to rely on one player to carry the offense and the passing game in particular.

When the Dallas Cowboys have several receiving threats it makes life easier for everyone on offense and much more challenging for opposing defenses. With Devin Smith coming into the lineup, teams are going to have to respect his downfield speed, which could open things up in the short to intermediate areas for the rest of the offense. After his 51 yard touchdown on Sunday, opposing defenses will have to pay attention to Smith.

In week three against at tanking Miami Dolphins squad, Smith may have another big game. In week one, the Miami Dolphins allowed Baltimore Ravens rookie Wide Receiver Marquise Brown to go off for four catches, 147 yards, and two touchdowns. The two touchdowns were on receptions of 47 and 83 yards.

The Dallas Cowboys need Devin Smith to be an effective player in order to keep the balance they've had in their target distribution. Teams will shade coverage toward Amari Cooper with Gallup out and Devin Smith will have to take advantage. Over the last few months, Smith has shown flashes of the ability that once made him a second-round pick. Now he's got a huge opportunity ahead of him and the Dallas Cowboys need him to take advantage of it to have the same level of success they've experienced in the first two weeks of the season.


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REPORT: Cowboys S Xavier Woods Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Injury

Jess Haynie

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Xavier Woods

Another tough injury coming out of last week's game against Washington; Cowboys starting Safety Xavier Woods is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain injury.

This comes just a day after Dallas lost WR Michael Gallup for 2-4 weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

Cowboys FS Xavier Woods is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, source said. A blow to the secondary with #Saints, #Packers among upcoming opponents.

The next man up at safety appears to be Darian Thompson, who has been with the Cowboys since midway through the 2018 season. He was re-signed as a free agent last March and is one of the key reasons that Dallas chose not to keep veteran George Iloka at final cuts.

Michael Gehlken on Twitter

Cowboys S Darian Thompson will make his first start Sunday since joining team in 2018, source said. S Xavier Woods is sidelined with high ankle sprain.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that Dallas is working out free agent safety Josh Jones. He was a 2nd-Round pick of the Packers in 2017 who was released last month after falling down the depth chart and demanding a trade.


Dallas still has Kavon Frazier and Donovan Wilson on the roster for safety depth. While many fans would love to see Wilson get the start this week, Darian Thompson's game and athleticism are more suited to play the free safety role.

Thompson also has experience, having started 17 games from 2016-2017 with the New York Giants. He was their 3rd-Round pick in 2016.

Thankfully, this Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins gives the Cowboys a soft opponent with which to make these adjustments. But missing Xavier Woods is going to hurt; he is a rising star on defense and easily their top player at safety.


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