The Dallas Cowboys pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders wasn't exactly what you would call scintillating. In fact, it was kind of a dud on the overall watchability scale. A 3-0 win for Dallas didn't tell us much about the team yet, although some individual storylines are starting to play out. One thing about pre-season games, though, is the constant threat of an injury. Nothing is worse than seeing a star player go down in a meaningless pre-season game.
Last night, the Cowboys came out of the game with only one major injury. Fourth-round pick Kyle Wilber broke his thumb. Wilber is expected to miss about a month, which means he won't be ready until the start of the season rolls around. Even then, he's going to need some practices to get ready to contribute, especially after missing most of the offseason activities with a fractured finger. Sounds like the Cowboys need to come up with some kind of device that will protect Wilber's hands!
Even though Dallas avoided a catastrophic injury last night, they need some players to get healthy or Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray are going to take a beating. The injury problems along the offensive line were glaring at the beginning of the game. With Phil Costa, Nate Livings, Kevin Kolwaski and Bill Nagy all missing, David Arkin had to take over at center and that proved problematic early on. Arkin was basically thrust into the position and struggled with the Raiders starting defensive line. He showed better as the game wore on, but Dallas will certainly be looking at veteran centers very soon. One name that has already been brought up? Andre Gurode.
The run of injuries at center forces the Cowboys to revisit a previous stance that they aren’t looking to bring anyone in at this position. One person they will consider is former Cowboys center Andre Gurode.
"He’s on the short list," head coach Jason Garrett said. "A big thing with all of these guys who haven’t been playing is what have they been doing. You always try to do your due diligence with that.
"We’ll see. We’re still talking about where he is or where anybody is, really."
Dallas was missing the services of plenty of top line players at other positions. Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher were unavailable, Morris Claiborne sat out. John Phillips' injury gave rookie James Hanna a chance to show hat he could do. Miles Austin missed the action along with Mike Jenkins.
On the one hand, players down on the depth chart are getting extended opportunities to play, and many of them against the top-level opposition at the beginning of the game. On the other hand, the Cowboys are robbed of having their starting units get into a rhythm and working together.