The Dallas Cowboys will do battle Sunday without both starting tackles and their top slot receiver.
Dallas ruled out LT Tyron Smith (ankle), RT La’El Collins and WR Randall Cobb (back) for their Week 6 road contest against the New York Jets. The team also ruled out WR Devin Smith, OL Adam Redmond, and defensive linemen Trysten Hill and Joe Jackson.
Smith will miss his second straight game with a high-ankle sprain, while Collins injured his knee in last week’s loss to the Packers. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones had expressed confidence that at least one of the blockers would play in New Jersey.
“It’s down to today and it even could be as late as tomorrow before we will know,” Jones said Friday, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I think it’s safe to say we’ll get half of them one way or another.”
Cameron Fleming draws the start for Smith. Brandon Knight is penciled in as the poreplacement for Collins. The backup offensive linemen are Xavier Su’a-Filo and Joe Looney.
Cobb, meanwhile, left Wednesday’s practice early after tweaking his back while going to the ground during ball-security drills. He was a DNP (Did Not Practice) on Thursday and Friday, putting him in serious of doubt of being scratched against New York.
Head coach Jason Garrett didn’t appear overly optimistic about Cobb’s prospects. With the former Packers star inactive, his pass-catching reps will be siphoned to Tavon Austin and Cedrick Wilson. The team also has Ventell Bryant in uniform for depth purposes behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is active despite a recent bout of vertigo.
Defensive tackle Antwaun Woods has returned from a multi-week knee injury and will start in the middle of Dallas’ front seven.
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Confidence in Fleming
It’s not ideal going into any game, even against the winless Jets, without two-fifths of a starting O-line. Especially not when facing blitz-happy defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who will be gunning for Prescott’s head (no pun intended).
But Cowboys center Travis Frederick is confident that Fleming and Knight can hold the fort for another week, before a big primetime clash with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
“Cam’s done a tremendous job for the last couple of years being able to play both positions and getting in and performing in times of need,” Frederick said, per WFAA.com. “And Brandon, that’s unbelievable what he did out there [in Week 5]. Just the fact that he was, you know, the situation he was in to get onto the team, and then wait for him to come off the bench cold and step in there and be successful. That’s really impressive.”
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