The offseason has been rough for the Dallas Cowboys. This was evident in their first preseason game of the season. The offensive line was almost unbearable from a fan's perspective, and you could tell the void that some of the absent players had left.
Injuries seem to have been the theme to this season's training camp and they seem to keep piling on at important positions. These injuries have forced to the Cowboys to shift philosophy and game plans because of the lack of depth.
As fans, we see this as important news. So we need to keep you guys up to date on the injured players, their status and how their absence affects the team.
Jason Witten is a player that the Cowboys can’t afford to lose, period. He is the efficiency of this offense. It has been evident over the past few years that Witten is as important a piece to this team as Tony Romo.
That is emphasized when you look at his numbers from the tight end position but even more so when you’re watching the game and you can see plainly how important he is on third downs.
Witten suffered internal injuries during the preseason came against Oakland. He is expected to miss the entire preseason and possibly more. Filling Witten’s void will be nearly impossible but young backup John Phillips and James Hanna will do everything they can to accomplish that.
If Jason Witten doesn’t play in Week 1, you can substantially reduce the Cowboys' chances for winning an important game against the New York Giants.
Last year's starting center injured his back last week. That injury caused him to miss practice and the preseason game against Oakland. Unfortunately, reports have surfaced on ESPN that Costa is likely to miss this week’s game in San Diego.
Last week, guard David Arkin was forced to play center due to Costa’s injury and the lack of depth at the center position. It was ugly, often leading to an all-out attack on quarterback Tony Romo.
Costa’s injury is significant. It isn’t the fact that he’s a good center, it’s that he’s competent at a position where no one else on the roster is.
At the very least, he can maintain blocks enough to keep Tony Romo upright. If he doesn’t heal soon, then you can expect either 1) a Tony Romo injury or 2) a ton of three-and-outs.
Costa remains day-to-day and likely will be evaluated next week. I believe he’ll be ready for the preseason opener.
Kyle Wilber has had a rough start to his first season in the National Football league. Though Wilber isn’t as key a factor as some of the other injuries we have, when he’s been able to play he’s looked like he belonged.
In Oakland, Wilber broke his thumb. This injury will leave Wilber sidelined for three to four weeks.
This isn’t as substantial as some of the others, but it’s one to keep an eye on. How they manage Wilber and the 53-man roster will say a lot about what they think of this young man.
Wilber is scheduled for surgery today.
Claiborne, who is starting to get some heat because of not being able to stay on the field, was back in pads for practice this week. He seems like he’s healed and was just being cautious considering his sore muscles. I expect that he’ll get ample playing time in San Diego.
I understand where the team is coming from with Claiborne but I understand that he needs to listen to his body. You don’t want to force your prized possession into the race if he’s not ready and risk more injury. Lets temper expectations of him and let him grow; he’ll be a great player.
Austin seems to continually be on the on the injured list. This time, the receiver has missed a substantial amount of time due to a hamstring injury. Miles has developed a reputation for being injury-prone after missing time the past two seasons.
Austin upgraded his status to doing rehab/resistance training. This is a good sign saying that Miles will be returning to the field sooner than later. I still expect him to stay out of this next preseason game, but I think he’ll be a go for Week 3.
Austin is an important part of this offense because he is still a top 20 receiver. With Witten out, it’s up to Austin to help Tony Romo get the Cowboys past the New York Giants.
There still remain a lot of question marks around this Dallas Cowboys team. The biggest is the injuries and can they overcome them? I think there is still a lot of work to be done and truthfully, it can’t be done when your key players are missing time.
We’ll be keeping an eye on these injuries and updating you guys as much as we can. Stay tuned for another episode of Dallas Cowboys: Super Bowl Contenders or Injury-Riddled Disappointments?