Cowboys Urged to Bench Key Starter Immediately

Jason Garrett Cowboys

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett

Christian Covington needs to move from grass to pine.

This, according to Bleacher Report, which named the Dallas Cowboys‘ defensive lineman among a list of NFL players who must be benched immediately. Columnist Maurice Moton pointed to second-round rookie Trysten Hill — not Covington — as the ideal replacement for injured nose tackle Antwaun Woods.

In the Dallas Cowboys’ Week 3 game against the Miami Dolphins, defensive lineman Christian Covington started before briefly exiting with a calf injury. He still managed to play a season-high 42 defensive snaps.

Through three weeks, the 25-year-old has logged four solo tackles and a quarterback hit. But because of depth and untapped potential in the reserve spots along the defensive line, Dallas could explore better options on the interior and cut back on Covington’s snap volume.

Dallas selected Trysten Hill in the second round of this year’s draft. In Week 3, he took the field for the first time, logging 34 defensive snaps. The Central Florida product hurried the quarterback twice and shot up the middle to nearly break up a handoff between Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen and running back Kalen Ballage.

Tyrone Crawford, who’s been the productive glue guy on the defensive line in running and passing situations, can also handle a higher snap volume (24.12 percent) if he shakes off a hip ailment.

Hill’s impressive debut makes him someone to develop over Covington—a fifth-year veteran on a one-year deal.

A 2015 sixth-round pick of the Texans, Covington has collected five tackles and a pass deflection through three games. Much to Moton’s chagrin, he’s expected to start Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints, though Hill assuredly will field significant reps in the Big Easy, as well.

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Woods, Crawford Ruled Out

The Cowboys are shorthanded on defense for at least another game. Head coach Jason Garrett on Friday ruled out Woods (knee) and starting defensive end Tyrone Crawford (hip) for the road trip to New Orleans.

Woods sustained a sprained MCL in the second quarter of Dallas’ Week 2 road victory at Washington when teammates inadvertently landed on his leg. He was inactive last Sunday, giving way to Hill, a healthy scratch for the first two games. He’ll continue to fill in for Woods, with Covington, Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson and Kerry Hyder operating as depth along the line.

Crawford is plagued by bursitis in both hips and considered week-to-week. Robert Quinn, who notched his inaugural Cowboys sack against the Dolphins, will start for Crawford opposite DE DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tank Trash-Talks Saints Ahead of Game

Lawrence is straddling the microscopic line between confident and cocky. After expressing zero concern about facing the Drew Brees-less-but-still-formidable-Saints in the Superdome, Tank did more Tank things, firing a well-placed barb toward the direction of the Big Easy.

“Go to New Orleans and hear the whole crowd talk about some ‘Who Dat’ or whatever,” Lawrence told David Moore of The Dallas Morning News. “It’s a great opportunity to show them ‘We Dat.’”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL