The Dallas Cowboys entered the regular season fairly healthy. The only one of their projected starters or primary role players that was out of action in week one was Robert Quinn who will serve the second of a two games suspension on Sunday for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Probably, the most significant absence from week one was rookie Safety Donovan Wilson. Wilson, who lit up the preseason with three interceptions also suffered an ankle sprain in the final preseason game and was forced to miss the Dallas Cowboys win 35-17 win over the New York Giants.
Per David Helman of DallasCowboys.com, Wilson was limited in practice on Wednesday and may be ready to play when the Dallas Cowboys travel to Washington to face their NFC East rival.
During training camp and the preseason, Wilson has been the most productive and talked about rookie of the 2019 draft class because of his ability to make plays on the football. During the preseason games, he showed excellent awareness and range in the passing game to cover long distances on a couple of occasions to intercept the football. Many have even clamored for Wilson to take over as the starting strong safety in place of veteran and team captain Jeff Heath.
While it may be some time still before we see Wilson play a significant role for the defense, getting him back on the field and healthy is the first step. He’s a natural playmaker in the passing game dating back to his time at Texas A&M and though he’ll have some things to work on, namely his tackling, players who can create turnovers will generally force their way into games at some point.
If Wilson is back this week, he’ll likely get most of his work on special teams and could fill in at times at safety for both Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods to give them a breather. If the Cowboys are worried about overexposing Heath on defense, they could scale him back from 90% of the plays to 75% and give Wilson the other 25% of the strong safety snaps.
It isn’t often that a sixth-round pick makes as much of an impression on fans as Donovan Wilson has in just five months with the team. That’s how impressive he’s been in his short time with the Dallas Cowboys. If he can get back healthy, he’ll work his way onto the field at some point and be a significant playmaker when given the opportunity.
- The biggest takeaway when looking at the practice report is that Johnathan Allen didn’t practice and with his MCL sprain has already been ruled out for week 2. That’s a huge blow for the Redskins defensive line. Last year when the Cowboys played the Redskins, Allen gave the Cowboys offensive line fits in the run and pass game.
- Caleb Brantley, Allen’s backup according to the depth chart on the Washington Redskins’ team site also did not practice on Wednesday and is considered questionable for Sunday’s game with a foot issue.
- Also on the defensive side of the football, the Redskins had two of their starting defensive backs limited in practice on Wednesday; Cornerback Quinton Dunbar and Safety Montae Nicholson. After allowing 318 yards passing to Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in week one, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys could have a field day with a banged-up Washington Redskins secondary.
- Also notable is that Running Back Derrius Guice did not practice and has been ruled out for week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys. In his place will be Adrian Peterson who ran for 99 yards on 24 carries in the Redskins week seven win over the Dallas Cowboys.
- For the Cowboys, Tyrone Crawford is the only surprise. After getting back a couple of weeks ago, now he’s dealing with an ankle injury that could put him in jeopardy of missing week 2. If he’s not able to go, it could be Taco Charlton’s turn to get a shot against the Redskins.
- Tavon Austin likely won’t play in week 2 as he’s dealing with concussion symptoms, which means we’ll see more of Devin Smith and Tony Pollard in the passing game. I doubt that they’d promote Cedrick Wilson to the active roster as they’d have to release someone from their 53-man roster to fit him in.