The Dallas Cowboys problems along the defensive line are twofold: 1) they may not have enough talent to be difference-makers and 2) they keep getting injured or suspended. At this point, there isn’t much that can be done about the overall talent level, they are going to roll with what they got. But on the injury/suspended front, they are looking at getting some players back, and soon.
As was reported earlier, Tyrone Crawford should be returning to practice on Tuesday. That is huge news, his presence is one of the keys for the season on defense. Cedric Thornton has been out with an illness, and Terrell McClain has also missed time with a toe injury but should be returning soon.
One player that we haven’t seen yet might be back sooner than later. Everybody wants to get a look at free agent signee Benson Mayowa, the defensive end that the Cowboys ponied up good money for in the offseason. Dallas gave Mayowa a three-year deal for over $8 million. That’s a lot of money for a player that really hasn’t proven himself. So all eyes will be on Mayowa once he gets back to action in training camp, and that could be happening in a matter of days.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett doesn’t like to speak definitively about injuries, but he sounded optimistic on Saturday that Mayowa might be able to enter the playing field in the near future.
"I don’t want to be definitive on that, but he’s making progress," Garrett said. "But hopefully in the next few days we can inch him along and get him out there."
There’s a lot of hope pinned to Mayowa breaking out in Dallas, but first he needs to get some reps in this defense.
Not to be forgotten is another defensive linemen who the Cowboys have put a lot of faith in, third-round pick Maliek Collins. His injury will keep him out a little longer, but he’s not too far away from getting back into action.
Collins’ wait might be a bit longer. He broke his right foot during the last week of May, and the prognosis was about 10 weeks’ recovery time. The hope is that the rookie will be able to contribute during training camp – but not quite yet.
"He’s probably a little farther out. He’s doing well, but again, he’s not really on the day-to-day status yet," Garrett said. "He still has to do a lot of conditioning on the side to get himself closer. But we do anticipate seeing him in the next, hopefully, week or so."
Week or so? That would be nice. The Cowboys defensive line woes have been well-documented, but the presence of Mayowa, and later Collins, could finally give us a full look at what we’ve got for the season, and whether all the worry is warranted or not.