As is his norm, the Dallas Cowboys' owner took to the airwaves on the Cowboys flagship radio station KRLD-FM 105.3 "The Fan" to discuss the current state of the team. Among the issues that the boss addressed was the number of key players who the Cowboys are expecting to return to action this week. Among those pieces are wide receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Morris Claiborne, and defensive end DeMarcus Ware ( who has had additional time to recover since his return against the New Orleans Saints).
"They’ll make an impact. Obviously we got to adjust to the fact that some of them may need to get in a little better football shape. I’d like to say we’ve got to watch them as far as their number of reps in the ballgame but I don’t know that we got that kind of luxury as far as our depth is concerned. Especially there on defense, it’s good to have those players back and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will be better." - Jerry Jones
All three players figured large in the team's plans at the start of the season, but for various reasons each has found himself facing issues that have hindered their role in the Cowboys season. For Miles Austin it has once again come down to his hamstrings, which have become a running joke around these parts. Although he originally suffered the 2013 edition of this recurring injury against the St. Louis Rams back in week three, Miles and the team kept trying to play through the situation until after the week seven visit to the Philadelphia Eagles. During the span, he proved to be essentially useless to the team so the decision was made to allow the elder statesman of the Dallas receiving corps to get healthy before making his next appearance. From what we are hearing, that return will take place this Sunday at MetLife Stadium against NFC East rivals, the New York Giants. According to the team's owner, he expects that a healthy Miles Austin will have an immediate positive impact on the Cowboys lethargic offense.
"He had a good practice out there Monday and I think he was actually ready to go, I don’t think, I know, he was ready to go against New Orleans and he probably could have gone earlier, but we really wanted to be conservative on that and to the end that it worked this way. To have him for this next six ball games, I’m really probably getting ahead of myself because of the history we’ve had their recently with his hamstring, but to have him back out there, he’s our best route runner, will make a difference in what we’re doing offensively."
Moving to the other side of the ball, as Jerry stated, there are two potential impact players that should factor heavily into the way Monte Kiffin and his coaches prepare for facing the G-men. Morris Claiborne, the teams 2012 first-round draft selection, also suffered an injury to his hamstring during the loss to the Detroit Lions. The second-year corner, who told us after his injury that he was targeting his return for the week following the bye, has returned to practice, and according to Jerry Jones he is expected to be a factor in how the Cowboys defend against Eli Manning.
"I think Mo’s going to be playing and that’s relative to what we’re going to be doing against the Giants,that’s big because the more of those corners we can have out there the more we can get Eli [Manning] a little concerned about what we’re doing, what he’s throwing against."
With Claiborne experiencing a "sophomore slump", fans may not share the enthusiasm of Jones, but when the alternative is rookie B. W. Webb, the owner's excitement is a little easier to understand. Despite his struggles this season, getting Mo back is still an upgrade for Dallas.
Also expected to have more of an impact is All-Everything DeMarcus Ware. Although the veteran pass rusher played against the New Orleans Saints prior to the bye, that was his first action since suffering an injury to his right thigh. He also aggravated that injury during the loss to the Saints. Now that he's had the benefit of two additional weeks to allow his quadriceps to heal, the team is confident that Ware is fully ready to take on the Giants.
"Of course, the best thing to do for Eli is turn that DeMarcus Ware loose and let him get a little extra pressure from where we’ve been."
While helping to serve an early Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Dallas Salvation Army, Ware addressed the issue that has limited his performance recently.
"My leg feels like I just went through training camp. Now it's just getting it to the point where it's very functional. I know right now, the way my body feels, it feels great, feels strong, feels fast. Now it's just get over the hump of these little injuries and moving forward." - DeMarcus Ware
All three players have an opportunity to step on the field and have an impact for the Dallas Cowboys and it is good to see them able to return to action. But many fans will take a "wait and see" attitude towards anything associated with this team. Only time will tell and that is something the 2013 edition of the Dallas Cowboys are running out of.
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