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Cowboys news: Offensive line gets bitten by the injury bug again

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Dallas Cowboys suffer setback, OG Jason Peters could be out few weeks with chest injury - Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Dallas Cowboys already lost one veteran offensive tackle this season. Now it looks like Jason Peters will miss some time with a chest injury.

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a huge setback on the offensive line for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles and possible weeks to come.

Veteran offensive guard Jason Peters suffered a chest injury in practice. He had an MRI on Friday morning and is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Rams. But he will not play and could be out a few weeks, according to a source.

Peters, a 19-year veteran who signed with the Cowboys two weeks before the season opener, was rotating with Connor McGovern at left guard.

He was expected get more snaps against the Rams after logging 14 and 21 in the previous two games combined and was considered a key part of the plan to contain All-Pro tackle Aaron Donald.

Peters was also instrumental in the mental development of rookie left tackle Tyler Smith with his advice and in-game tips.

Aaron Donald excited to put pass rushing prowess to work against the Cowboys - John Dillion, Rams Wire

Aaron Donald knows he needs to step up and lead his team out of the ditch they're in. One way to do it is to attack the Cowboys offensive line in the middle between Biadasz and McGovern.

All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald knows what his unit needs to do to get back in form, though, and told reporters on Thursday how the defensive line can make their presence felt, even if their opponent game plans to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly against them. He said that it all comes down to effort, particularly in the moments leading up to the passing attempt.

“We can get our hands up,” Donald explained. “There are certain things we can do on defense as far as driving on certain things. I’m not going to go into detail on that, but we can get our hands up and just continue to play. There’s going to be a couple plays when they’re going to have to hold the ball and we got to find a way to get him down, affect him some way, somehow. It’s not always me, lot of other good football players out there that need to win they’re one-on-ones. If they want to find ways to focus on one guy, that’s the opportunity for other guys to be the playmakers.”

The Rams’ defense is anything but pedestrian on paper, though through four games it would seem that they aren’t living up to expectations. Things will need to change if they intend on getting back to championship-caliber form in the next few weeks, but with players like Donald to lead the charge, the team is in good hands.

Watch for the defensive line in particular to play with an edge against the Cowboys, and for the rest of the defense to feed off their energy in all four quarters.

Keys to Victory: Turning Up The Heat vs. Stafford - Bucky Brooks,

Former NFL scout Bucky Brooks studies the film. He knows that the Rams are vulnerable on the offensive line. It’s an area he feels the defense should attack all game.

The Cowboys will win if…

The blueprint is simple for the Cowboys with Cooper Rush in the lineup. The team wins when the squad excels at complementary football with a stingy defense setting the tone and the offense taking advantage of turnovers and advantageous field position. Although the offense needs to adhere to a run-first premise with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard pounding away at the middle of the defense, Cooper Rush will need to make a handful of plays to keep the Rams from condensing the field with tight coverage and loaded boxes. If CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup can take advantage of their big play opportunities, the Cowboys will be able to play this game on their terms.

Defensively, Dan Quinn needs to turn up the heat on Matthew Stafford without exposing his secondary to risky blitz coverage. The Cowboys have successfully utilized a variety of four-man rushes with clever line movement to destroy pass protections and pummel passers through the first quarter of the season. And that strategy might enable the Cowboys to attack the Rams’ quarterback without compromising their coverage on Cooper Kupp. If the “Doomsday” defense bruises and batters Stafford in the pocket, the Cowboys will chalk up another “W” in the win column.

Dallas Cowboys: Kearse’s Return is Key to Stopping Rams Secret Weapon - Shane Carter, A to Z Sports

Even though the offense might be losing Peters for a while, the defense will be getting one of their best players back. Jayron Kearse is expected to play Sunday, and his presence will be needed to stop the Rams rushing attack.

Re-joining forces with Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson to make up the Cowboys three-headed monster of safeties.

Even without his presence on the field, the defense has played well as a unit. Especially Wilson, who’s having a Kearse-like season, being ranked among the best safeties early in 2022.

However, the biggest return with Kearse is his ability to neutralize and erase opposing tight ends. One of the main reasons he was brought back on a two-year deal to begin with.

For the most part, the Cowboys have done well in coverage against opposing TE’s. Allowing a combined 26 targets, 20 receptions for 101 yards in the past three games combined.

However, looking at the film on an expanded view, much of this is due to the heavy pressure put on opposing QBs. Often the TE is open and the QB misses them in the pocket, or they’re overthrown.

LA Rams QB is unfortunately one of the best in the league when facing the blitz. So coverage over the TE will be key. Especially this week, going up against Tyler Higbee, who’s having a career resurgence.

All of a sudden, Cowboys 2023 free-agent class looks full of potential paydays - K.D Drummond, Cowboys Wire

There is still a lot of NFL season left, but Cowboys fans should keep an eye on which 2023 free agents are playing well. It might be tough to keep them all around for the long haul.

If there’s one thing that’s a tenet of the NFL, it is that teams should be prepared for the unexpected, too. Entering the season, there were a couple of veterans who were set to hit free agency and were worthy of conversations about whether they should be back in Dallas. The first four games of the season though, where Dallas is a surprising 3-1 without the services of QB Dak Prescott, have added new names to that conversation.

Jones might need to make sure his check-writing pen has enough ink.

QB Cooper Rush

Rush was cut to start the season. Yes, there was a wink-wink agreement he’d be back, but his options were extremely limited so why not? There are currently 45 Cowboys who cost more against the cap than Rush, who’s won three in a row to keep Dallas in the NFC hunt, not just the division race, without Prescott.

The backup QB market is depressed in 2022 compared to where it has been over the last several years, but Rush will at minimum triple his salary in the offseason and will likely cost at least $5 million on someone’s ledger, if there isn’t a team willing to see if he can be a bridge to a drafted QB.

Safety Donovan Wilson

The third safety in a three-safety secondary has looked like the best of them all so far in 2022. Sunday’s nine tackle, psuedo-sack (intentional grounding) performance against Washington was after Next Gen Stats named him the second-best in the league so far this season.

Wilson has always been a fearsome hitter, but he’s been injury prone and lacking in the other areas. The first knock will always be wait-and-see but in Jayron Kearse’s absence Wilson has proven capable of being in the spotlight and is earning himself some major paper.

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