The Dallas linebacking corps, the thinnest and weakest unit on the defense, got weaker yesterday with word that captain Dat Nguyen was placed on injured reserve with neck and knee injuries. What's worse, coach Bill Parcells suggested Nguyen may be considering retirement because the injuries prevent him from performing at his standard of play.
Nguyen played a bit against Denver, mostly out of necessity. His backup Scott Shanle was out with an ankle injury, meaning the Cowboys did not have a healthy weakside inside backer. Backup strongside linebacker Ryan Fowler got the start, meaning Dallas had no healthy backups. Nguyen spelled Ryan when Dallas played nickel defense.
The Cowboys moved quickly to add depth, signing free agent Michael Barrow. The eleven-year vet may start against the Giants on Sunday since he is familiar with the 3-4 scheme, having played it while he was a Panther in the late '90s. Barrow has topped the 100 tackle mark six times in his career, most recently in 2003 when he was, coincidentally, a New York Giant. Barrow signed with the Redskins in 2004 but spent the entire season on IR with severe knee tendonitis.