The Dallas Cowboys entered Sunday without four starters. A fifth — one of the replacements — just went down.
Cowboys defensive tackle Christian Covington is questionable to return after suffering a calf injury in the second quarter of their Week 3 game against the Miami Dolphins.
Typically a reserve lineman, Covington is starting at nose tackle in place of Antwaun Woods, who sustained a sprained MCL in Dallas’ Week 2 road victory at Washington. Woods is considered day-to-day, though held him out and activated second-round rookie DL Trysten Hill, a healthy scratch for the first two games.
Covington had combined for three tackles prior to leaving the game.
Dallas leads Miami, 10-6, at halftime.
The Hill Show
From not dressing to being thrust into the lineup — life comes at you fast in the NFL. Hill should receive a lion’s share of snaps regardless of Covington’s status, as Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had wanted to get him on the field.
“He’s ready to go. It’s time for him to go,” Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said Friday. “[Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s] fired up about what he can bring to the table here. He’s had a really good week of practice. I expect him to make some plays for us.”
The connection between Hill and Marinelli can be traced back to the pre-draft process, when the former UCF stud spent his 21st birthday talking shop with Marinelli in a hotel lobby — an acendoate Hill recalls fondly.
”We were in the hotel lobby actually. On my birthday, yes sir,” he explained to the Star-Telegram earlier this offseason. “We just hung out in the lobby. It was my 21st. We were there and talking football, talking drills and everything like that. I’m not really used to nice hotels. But coach said it was a little shack. It was run down. We had two little chairs pulled up to a table. But that doesn’t make the difference. That’s the experience that I’m happy to look back at and say that I spent my 21st with my coach.”
No surprises among Dallas’ Week 3 scratches, nearly all of whom were ruled out Friday: WRs Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup, LB Luke Gifford, S Xavier Woods, OL Brandon Knight, and DL Tyrone Crawford and Woods.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL