Things are going from bad to worse for the Dallas Cowboys.
Riding a two-game losing streak and now down their head coach, the Cowboys were dealt another blow Monday, November 29 when defensive tackle Trysten Hill was suspended two games without pay by the NFL for “violations of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules,” the league announced.
The suspension stems from an incident following last Thursday’s loss to the Raiders during which Hill struck with an open hand the facemask of Las Vegas offensive lineman John Simpson. The punch knocked Simpson’s helmet to the turf and caused a brief altercation between the players, who were separated near midfield at AT&T Stadium.
“After the Las Vegas Raiders-Dallas Cowboys game on November 25, you engaged in conduct that this office considers unnecessary roughness and displays a lack of sportsmanship,” NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Hill, explaining his punishment. “Specifically, as both teams were shaking hands, you waited more than 50 seconds for your opponent at the 50-yard line. When you located him, you then walked toward him in the opposite direction of your locker room. You both engaged in a verbal chest-to-chest confrontation which you escalated by throwing an open hand punch to his facemask, forcible enough to cause your opponent’s helmet to come off.”
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The 58th overall pick of the 2019 draft, Hill is not a starter but a contributor along Dallas’ defensive line, with eight tackles and one quarterback hit across 82 snaps this season. He logged five tackles (four solo) against the Raiders, his third appearance since returning from 2020 ACL surgery. But Hill did neither himself nor his future playing time any favors by attacking Simpson.
“He will be getting a call from me, that’s for sure,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said on November 26, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “Just making sure we keep our discipline right. It takes a lot of discipline to unclench our fist sometimes more than clench it.”
Picking up the slack in Hill’s absence will be Quinton Bohanna and Justin Hamilton, the direct backups to starting DTs Carlos Watkins and Osa Odighizuwa. Watkins and Odighizuwa have combined for 24 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss, and three sacks, spearheading the Cowboys’ 13th-ranked run defense.
Eligible to appeal his ban, Hill currently is slated to miss Thursday night’s road tilt at New Orleans as well as the team’s Week 14 divisional showdown at Washington.
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Dak Reveals ‘Urgency’ to Beat Saints
The Cowboys began the 2021 campaign with a 6-1 record and appeared on cruise control toward an NFC East crown. Having lost three of their last four, though, the 7-4 club now finds itself fighting for its playoff lives just two games up on 5-6 Washington, who beat the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
A victory over the Saints would slow the proverbial bleeding. A loss, and the bleeding could become terminal. Therein lies the stakes entering a virtual must-win affair from the Big Easy.
“It’s very urgent,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott told reporters Monday, November 29, via the official team website. “This is a team that’s hungry and p***** off simply about the way we’ve executed and played.”