Even in the Dallas Cowboys 25 point win over the Miami Dolphins, a performance where the defense only allowed six points, the Dallas Cowboys didn't necessarily look sharp for a full 60 minutes. On the defensive side of the ball, they were good against a Dolphins team that came into the game averaging five points over their first two contests, but there were times when they weren't at their best.
One of the reasons the defense was a bit underwhelming at times was the absence of two key defensive starters; Antwaun Woods and Xavier Woods. Per a report from Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning it's looking possible that both of the Woods (not related) could return for the Cowboys pivotal NFC showdown with the New Orleans Saints.
Antwaun Woods (knee) wearing a Nipsey Hussle t-shirt, said he's getting close to returning. Xavier Woods (ankle) is also nearing a possibility where he could practice this week.
Christian Covington and Darian Thompson acquitted themselves well in place of the defensive starters and will continue to be valuable role players for the Cowboys moving forward. However, getting starters back on the defensive side of the ball against one of the best offensive teams of the last fifteen years will be huge for the Dallas Cowboys chances to pick up the win on the road in New Orleans.
Having Antwaun Woods back is important for the 1-technique defensive tackle rotation. Christian Covington provided some nice pass rush, picking up a couple of quarterback pressures on Sunday against Miami. It's a position that the Dallas Cowboys like to rotate to keep fresh, so having Woods back, who's the only true 1-technique on the team would be very beneficial.
Though Thompson played well in his first start at free safety, Xavier Woods has been one of the best defenders for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Having him available would be huge for a matchup against Sean Payton's Saints.
Xavier Woods' has excellent awareness from the safety position. Several times this season, he's seen a route combination developing that would take the cornerback out of the play, get in position to make the play on the wide receiver, or provide enough coverage until the corner can get back into the play.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has only allowed an average of 14.67 points per game through three games. That points per game average would look better when you consider that the Cowboys' defense allowed a garbage-time touchdown to both the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. In the first 57 minutes of their three games this season, the Cowboys are allowing an average of 10 points per game.
They've been good, but obviously they're better with both Xavier and Antwaun Woods. The physicality and tenacity they bring to the defensive side of the football plays a big role in the Dallas Cowboys defensive success.
If the Cowboys are able to get both Xavier and Antwaun back for this week's matchup, it would give the defense a huge boost in their attempt to start the season 4-0. The Dallas Cowboys are on a roll right now and keeping the good times going in New Orleans is paramount for their playoff aspirations as the schedule only gets more difficult as the season goes along.
REPORT: Tyrone Crawford Having Season-Ending Surgery, Headed to IR
And the hits keep coming. Defensive Tackle/Defensive End Tyrone Crawford will have season-ending hip surgery and is expected to be placed on the Injured Reserve.
Source: Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is being placed on injured reserve. He has been dealing with a hip injury since last season. He was held out of training camp because of it and has struggled to play through it this season
Tyrone Crawford is yet another player on a long list for the Dallas Cowboys who have recently succumbed to the injury bug. With the bye week still a week away and the Philadelphia Eagles up next on the schedule, all of these injuries are happening at the most inopportune time.
All of these injuries put the Dallas Cowboys in a tough position this week against the Eagles. The NFC East division hangs in the balance and you can bet the absence of Tyrone Crawford will have an impact on the game one way or another. That's the short term though. How Crawford's injury impacts the Cowboys long-term has yet to be determined.
Replacing someone with the versatility to play either DT or DE won't be easy for Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys defense. His versatility has been invaluable over the years, which makes it all that much harder to find a replacement.
Luckily, the Cowboys had the foresight to try to address the DL this offseason. They added DT Christian Covington through free agency, drafted DT Trysten Hill, and even brought in a few undrafted free agents who showed promise in preseason. Someone out of this group will have to step up, but who?
Tyron Smith Likely to Return Against Jets, La’el Collins Also Possible
Missing Tyron Smith last week as a significant factor in the Dallas Cowboys' loss to the Green Bay Packers. Losing La'el Collins midway through the game certainly didn't help, either. Thankfully, the Cowboys may be getting both starting offensive tackles back this week when they face the New York Jets.
In a radio show appearance earlier today, Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones stated that Smith was on pace to get back on the field this Sunday in New York. There is not the same certainty around Collins, but a recent knee MRI was negative for any major injury.
Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones tells @1053thefan that Tyron Smith's progress from a sprained ankle looks "promising" with the Jets up next, but they'll see how the week goes. Jones not ruling out La'el Collins (sprained knee) either. #cowboyswire
Assuming Tyron is able to play but La'el is not, we will likely see Cameron Fleming starting at right tackle against the Jets.
Fleming played on the left side last week with Smith out, and backup Brandon Knight came in the game once Collins was injured. Knight had a solid game in his first regular season action, so perhaps Dallas would consider giving him the opportunity to play again this week.
The Jets only have six sacks on the year, which is near the bottom of the league, so Dallas may also be tempted to give Collins an extra week off. Week 7's critical matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles has to already be weighing on their minds.
Even if we only get Tyron Smith back this week, that will go a long way to helping stabilize the offense and giving Dallas a better opportunity to win.
Report: Cowboys RT La’el Collins Expected to Play Sunday
The Dallas Cowboys just got a bit of good news today in the midst of a number of injuries mounting on the roster. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Right Tackle La'el Collins is expected to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
While left tackle Tyron Smith is not expected to play Sunday, the Cowboys will have right tackle La'el Collins in the lineup, according to a source. Collins didn't practice Thursday but is expected to get in some work Friday. The Cowboys will also... https://t.co/G2SN9flikD
He's been dealing with a back issue that has kept him out of practice the last two days. Collins has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL so far in 2019 after signing a five-year 50 million dollar extension with 35 million in guarantees last month. If Collins couldn't go the Cowboys were looking to slide Left Guard Connor Williams to right tackle considering he played left tackle in college at Texas for three years.
This news couldn't have come at a better time considering the Cowboys will be without All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith who is dealing with a high ankle sprain. The Packers run defense has been one of the worst in football in the first month of the season. With Collins now back in the lineup, the Cowboys can establish the run game a lot easier with All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott.
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