After an elimination loss last week, the Dallas Cowboys have made roster moves to protect injured players and give some prospects a chance to play in today’s final game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Here’s a quick recap of who’s in, who’s out, and what you can look for from the regular season finale.
The week began with veteran linebacker Justin Durant being released. The 32-year-old had been dealing with injuries and isn’t expected to be return next year. The Cowboys signed rookie LB Tre’von Johnson from the practice squad, where he’d been since September. Johnson was made inactive for today’s game, so the move may have been simply to secure him from other teams.
Dallas also placed offensive tackle Tyron Smith and cornerback Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve. Both have been dealing with nagging injuries most of the season but likely would have played today if the game was meaningful.
With those two open roster spots, The Cowboys called up two more practice squad players. Guard Kadeem Edwards was signed to the 53 but is not active for today’s game. Receiver and return man Lance Lenoir, who you might remember from the preseason, is active today and could see significant playing time in the second half.
One reason Lenoir should play is that WR Cole Beasley is inactive today due to illness. Also inactive are RB Rod Smith, DT David Irving, DE Benson Mayowa, and TE Blake Jarwin. Irving has been out with a concussion and has not yet cleared the protocol, but Dallas might have sat him anyway today just to be safe.
With no Rod Smith and third RB added, it looks like Ezekiel Elliott will play a fair bit. While risking a superstar player is questionable, Elliott is surely hungry after just getting back from his six-week suspension. He 120 rushing yards today to hit 1,000 yards for the season. Alfred Morris will be the only other active RB today.
Along with Zeke, Dak Prescott is expected to start the game. How long he stays in with Tyron Smith out and La’el Collins also dealing with injuries is hard to say. Many are excited to Cooper Rush back under center after his great preseason, and we can expect the rookie to get in at some point.
Given their decision to play Prescott and Elliott, it’s hard to know how much the Cowboys will use other active starters. Will they play a quarter, a half, or even more? Perhaps they have their eye on finishing the year with a winning 9-7 record and on a positive note.
It’s not the Week 17 game we were hoping for, but there will still be news and discussion coming out of it. Let’s hope for a healthy and successful finale.