The Dallas Cowboys were expecting defensive end Tyrone Crawford to emerge this season as a key piece to their defense.
And maybe he does eventually get to that point, but he just won’t this season.
On Sunday, the first day of Cowboys’ training camp, Crawford tore his Achilles tendon, effectively ending what would have been his second NFL season even before it began.
The second-year Canadian-born Crawford, a third-round pick in 2012 out of Boise State, figured to play a key part in a Cowboys defense that is expected to do big things this year under new coordinator Monte Kiffin. But that obviously won’t happen now, and the injury no doubt further clouds a defensive line that, depth-wise at least, already had its share of question marks.
Josh Brent recently announced his retirement to deal with his personal life in the wake of more legal troubles for the 23-year-old, and Jay Ratliff — a multiple time Pro Bowler, but a player who has seen his production steadily dip in recent years — will undergo an MRI on his strained hamstring he suffered in the team’s standard conditioning test Saturday. Over the last two years for Ratliff, health has come at a premium. Along with this injury, he missed 10 games last season due to ankle and sports hernia surgeries.
With the injury to Crawford, Kyle Wilber is left as the only backup defensive end that figures to see a lot of time in 2013, but Wilber himself has his own injury history, having dealt with a fractured finger last spring. He played in just 10 games as a rookie, tallying five tackles.
The Cowboys know what they are getting out of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, that much is clear. What is not clear, however, is what kind of shape the rest of the line will be in come Week 1, and what the team will get out of the rest of their front four throughout the year.
Crawford’s injury definitely added to the question marks.