The preseason is finally over and the Dallas Cowboys‘ season opener against the New York Giants is quickly approaching. Even though it is only Week 1, this is a division game and it means everything, especially in a division that is so evenly matched.
This year, Dallas managed to get through the preseason without any major damage to their high-impact players. If you remember back to Week 1 of last year, most of the Cowboys’ “go-to” guys were banged up. Jason Witten was playing despite suffering a ruptured spleen just weeks earlier, and Miles Austin missed most of the preseason due to an ailing hamstring.
This year, the Cowboys have seen their share of injuries and it could be a concern.
In the preseason, fans saw two quality backups, Tyrone Crawford and Alex Albright, suffer season-ending injuries. The offensive line has been banged up all preseason long to the point that one of the training camp practices was cut short because there wasn’t enough depth on the line to continue the drills.
The biggest blow to this offensive line came when Ronald Leary had to have his knee scoped, which forced him to miss most of the preseason. Leary is expected to be back for Week 1, but is he going to be ready to go against a dominant Giants’ pass rush?
Before his injury, Lance Dunbar was making a strong case to be the primary back up to Demarco Murray. Dunbar sprained his left foot in the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, which could force him to possibly force him to miss the season opener.
If Dunbar is forced to miss the game, the Cowboys will have to turn to rookie Joseph Randle and third-year veteran Phillip Tanner to carry the load behind Murray.
The Cowboys’ defense also had its share of injuries. Starting defensive end Anthony Spencer missed the entire preseason due to a knee scope, but he is expected to be back for the season opener. It will be interesting to see if Spencer can hold his own in the Cowboys’ new defensive scheme.
Morris Claiborne has also missed the entire preseason due to a left knee injury. Claiborne will be entering his second season in the NFL and has the talent to become a great cornerback in this league, but he will have to prove he is durable. I am anxious to see if he can come into week one and shut down Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
The Giants have lost some of their players to injury too, which leads me to think that some of the backup players for both teams are going to see some extended playing time.