Cowboys Rule Out Defensive Starter for Week 1 at Rams

Dallas Cowboys defense

Getty Dallas Cowboys defense

With one exception, the Dallas Cowboys are healthy heading into Sunday night’s season-opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

That exception is starting nickelback Jourdan Lewis, who was ruled out for the Week 1 clash due to a nagging ankle ailment. Lewis, who suffered the injury on Aug. 20, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and was noticeably absent from Friday’s walkthrough.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said Monday that Lewis would likely be a game-time decision. There’s no longer a decision.

Lewis enters his age-25 campaign with increased expectations, ticketed for heavy snaps following the offseason defection of cornerback Byron Jones. The 2017 third-round pick operated as the primary slot CB during training camp, flanking rookie Trevon Diggs and fellow fourth-year man Chidobe Awuzie.

With Lewis inactive, Anthony Brown — listed as a starter on Dallas’ depth chart — will slide inside and figures to see plenty of Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who led the team in catches (94), yards (1,161), and touchdowns (10) last season. He’s quarterback Jared Goff’s favorite target, a staple in head coach Sean McVay’s pass-happy scheme.

Kupp, who went for 6-41-1 against Dallas in 2019, sustained a low-ankle sprain amid Los Angeles’ Aug. 29 scrimmage. He isn’t listed on the injury report.

The Cowboys could choose to activate the entirety of their healthy corners (Awuzie, Brown, Diggs, Daryl Worley, CJ Goodwin) for a matchup that may quickly devolve into a shootout. Awuzie, a full practice participant each day this week, appears recovered from the knee injury he nursed through camp.

In related news, Cowboys safety Xavier Woods was removed from the injury report after overcoming a tweaked groin. Woods will start opposite the platooning Darian Thompson-Donovan Wilson duo, with newly-converted rookie S Reggie Robinson a Plan C (if active).

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Cooper Declares Himself ‘Really Good’ to Go

For the third straight day Friday, Cowboys WR Amari Cooper was listed as a full practice participant despite working almost exclusively with the training staff — a common occurrence spanning the last five sessions of camp — due to his freshly-revealed hamstring injury.

The hammy caused panic as the Pro Bowl pass-catcher battled a slew of lower-leg/foot maladies in 2019. But a characteristically succinct Cooper quelled an anxious fan base sweating his status for Sunday Night Football.

“I feel good,” Cooper said after Thursday’s practice, per the team’s official website. “I’ve been able to become a full participant the last couple of practices and I’ve been able to do everything, so I feel really good going into the game.”

Assuming his reps aren’t scaled back at SoFi Stadium, Cooper will function as the top dog in Dallas’ three-WR base offense that includes Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL