First, Matt Johnson re-injured his hamstring on Friday and will once again see his NFL debut delayed. The defense will be forced to shuffle things to make up for the depleted safety corps when they face the Carolina Panthers and the very mobile Cam Newton.
Also, Dez Bryant has been listed as questionable with a groin injury, although the exact circumstances of what happened are not clear.
I'm told Dez Bryant has been slowed by groin soreness recently and he did not suffer new injury in practice on Thur. or Fri.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 19, 2012
Questionable means that the team sees it as 50/50 whether he will play on Sunday. Even if he plays, he may be less than 100%. And he is not the only starting wide receiver who is a bit gimpy.
Garrett hints that Austin still working way back from hamstring. ‘He’s getting healthier and healthier as the season goes on.’— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) October 19, 2012
With DeMarco Murray already ruled out, Dallas has three of its top offensive weapons either out or limited in effectiveness. Bryant is probably going to be a game time decision. If he does play, the question will be how well he can play. He may not be able to continue the much-improved performance he has displayed the last two games. If he is not able to go, then Kevin Ogletree would have to go to a starting position, and based on the current depth chart at DallasCowboys.com, Dwayne Harris would be expected to get the snaps when the team goes to three wide receivers, although this may also open up some chances for Andre Holmes and Cole Beasley, depending on how the slot position is handled.
Like Bryant, Anthony Spencer is listed as questionable, but that is actually a cause for some optimism. After missing two games, he may be able to play. That could be a very positive development to offset the bad news.
"When Spencer gets back we've got our pass rush and front and people better duck," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "That's all I'm saying."
While Spencer would be a welcome boost, the possible problems with the passing game are very worrisome. The Panthers game just got a little more challenging.