The Cowboys should be receiving a major boost to an already impressive defense in a few weeks.
DeMarcus Lawrence (injured reserve; foot) will start his 21-day practice window “shortly, in the near future,” as the veteran pass rusher moves closer to a return from IR, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said.
“He’s chomping at the bit,” McCarthy said.
Once Lawrence is designated to return from IR, he’ll start his 21-day practice window and can be activated to the 53-man roster at any time during that stretch.
The Cowboys are on a short week with limited practice time heading into Thursday’s home game against the Raiders, so it’s probably not enough ramp-up time for Lawrence to be back in the lineup this week. If not Thanksgiving, his next chance to play would be next Thursday, Dec. 2, at New Orleans.
Lawrence had successful surgery in mid-September to repair a foot fracture suffered in practice. He has been ramping up his rehab work with the athletic training staff in recent weeks.
The Cowboys didn’t practice yesterday, but if they did this would have been the injury report.
The Cowboys didn't practice Monday but in an estimated injury report from the team: CeeDee Lamb (concussion), Donovan Wilson (chest, shoulder) DNP; Ezekiel Elliott (knee), Tyron Smith (ankle) limited; Trysten Hill (foot), Cedrick Wilson (shoulder), Nahshon Wright (hamstring) full— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) November 22, 2021
Also, Donovan Wilson has already been ruled for this week.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb (concussion) “was in all the meetings today,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re hopeful he’ll make it through the protocol” before Thursday’s game vs. Raiders. S Donovan Wilson (shoulder/chest) won’t play.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 22, 2021
As noted above, the Cowboys are hoping CeeDee Lamb will play on Thursday.
“He’ll start his protocol right away,” Jones told Dallas station 105.3 The Fan on Monday. “Then, he’s doing really well. So, he’ll have an opportunity to play. If he were having issues today, then you’d probably be a little leery, but the fact that so far he’s doing well. But he’ll have to go through testing. So, we won’t really know that until Thursday.”
Lamb was injured late in the first half of the Cowboys’ 19-9 loss to the Chiefs on a jump ball in the end zone. Lamb had three catches for 14 yards. The 2020 first-round pick has 50 catches for 740 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
The Cowboys are already without perennial Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper, who landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last Friday. The unvaccinated Cooper tested positive and has to quarantine a mandatory 10 days.
The short week as a benefit?
“Make sure you get your mentals right, especially after you’ve taken a loss like that,” Gallup said. “Make sure you come back and move on. We have a game in, what, (four) days? You just have to move on.”
But from a physical standpoint, it can be easier said than done, especially considering the Cowboys dealt with even more injuries in Kansas City, including CeeDee Lamb having a concussion and Donovan Wilson suffering a shoulder injury. Ezekiel Elliott also had both a knee and ankle issue during the game but said he expects to be back on the field Thursday.
As for Lamb and Wilson, it will be a wait-and-see approach.
But all of the players, whether they were on the injury report or not, will have to get their bodies ready for the turnaround as well as the Raiders coming to town for the 3:25 p.m. kickoff on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.
“It’s another week, it’s another opponent,” veteran pass-rusher Tarell Basham said. “We just have to prepare for them as best as possible. Do your research, get a game plan together and try to get your bodies ready to go out there and execute, turning around from a Sunday game to a Thursday game.”
Whether or not players on this team have played in the Thanksgiving Day game before, most of them are used to a Thursday-game format.
“You hit your recovery as hard as you possibly can,” said safety Jayron Kearse. “We’re back at it Thursday to try to get us a win and get this thing back rolling how it needs to be rolling.”
Stephen Jones: Cowboys ‘feel really good’ about getting Tyron Smith back vs Raiders - Todd Brock, CowboysWire
Maybe this is the week Tyron Smith returns.
The news looked promising for Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith to suit up and start against Kansas City on Sunday… right up until it didn’t. After being limited in practice during the week and participating in the team’s Friday mock game, head coach Mike McCarthy was “hopeful” that the seven-time Pro Bowler would have a solid practice session on Saturday and be declared fit for play Sunday.
But in the early-morning hours on gameday, reports surfaced that Smith would be inactive for a third straight game thanks to a bone spur issue in his ankle.
Start the news cycle over again. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones announced Monday on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan that, “we feel really good about him playing this week.”
Although the team did not practice Monday, the Cowboys issued an injury report, estimating players’ statuses as if they had. Smith was listed as “limited.”
Micah Parsons is just plain impressive.
Why Micah Parsons has real chance to break NFL rookie sack record
The Cowboys’ decision to move Parsons from inside linebacker, where he was the No. 12 overall pick out of Penn State, to his natural position at defensive end has paid immense dividends.
Now, with Demarcus Lawrence sidelined for multiple weeks, the Cowboys will be calling on Parsons to continue to anchor the pass-rush. A role that many inside the league believe Parsons is plenty capable of doing, and then some.
“Watching him, it feels like the game has really slowed down for him,” an NFL executive recently told FanSided. “He’s gone from mastering one position to multiple positions, because they’ve moved him around to a bunch of different positions, and the production is really starting to show.”
Entering Sunday’s game, Parsons’ 92.1 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus was highest among NFL linebackers.
If Parsons keeps this pace up down the stretch, he’ll have a real chance of etching his name into the NFL record book.
The status of Connor McGovern was cleared up pretty quickly.
Head coach Mike McCarthy typically doesn’t reveal starting lineups or assignments early in the week, but on Monday he was quick to respond when asked about his left guard position.
Connor McGovern is expected to remain as the starter this week against the Raiders. He started his first game of the year on the left side, replacing Connor Williams in the lineup.
McCarthy said McGovern “played OK” against the Chiefs and acknowledged some of the blocking issues he had on Sunday, as did the rest of the offensive line.
Perhaps the Cowboys are sticking with the lineup on a short week, but for now, there doesn’t seem to be a change for McGovern. The only real change could be to his left as Tyron Smith is expected to play at left tackle after missing the last three games.
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