The Dallas Cowboys will likely be without starting running back DeMarco Murray and star defensive end DeMarcus Ware and when they travel to Philadelphia for their Week 7 matchup with the Eagles, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Todd Archer.
Following the team's 31-16 win against the Washington Redskins in Week 6, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett confirmed the injuries, via NFL.com's Around the League Twitter account:
Jason Garrett says DeMarco Murray has an MCL sprain and DeMarcus Ware has a quad strain.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 14, 2013
Ware, who has established himself as one of the game's premier pass-rushers and defensive players over the years, has also been one of the league's most durable players. ESPN Stats and Info shared some perspective on Ware's personal games-played streak:
DeMarcus Ware reportedly likely out Sunday vs Eagles. Ware has played 134 straight games, hasn't missed a game since entering NFL in 2005.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 14, 2013
According to Schefter, Ware could miss an extended period of time:
DE DeMarcus Ware is expexcted to miss three to four weeks with a strained quad.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 14, 2013
That likely means a lot of more opportunities for backup Kyle Wilber, who had a sack-fumble of Robert Griffin III against Washington that led to a quick Cowboys touchdown.
Ware has four sacks this season and would be a major loss for the Cowboys, who enter this week tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East with their 3-3 records. Dallas did its best to keep the Redskins out of contention for the division crown with a dominating effort in Week 6:
But perhaps the bigger loss will be Murray's, as he has played a larger role on his team's offense than any other running back this year, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
DeMarco Murray has accounted for 84 percent of his team's rushing yards this season, the highest percentage in the league.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 14, 2013
Murray ranks eighth in the NFL with 428 rushing yards this year, to go along with his three touchdowns and contributions in the passing game (24 catches, 164 yards). There's never been any doubt of Murray's production, but he's been hindered by injuries throughout his three-year career, missing three games in 2011 and six more in 2012.
Rich Eisen of NFL Network offered his opinion on Murray's injury:
Demarco Murray just can NOT stay healthy. He's such a difference maker for Dallas when healthy and, you know, used.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) October 14, 2013
The Cowboys are thin at running back behind Murray. Schefter and Archer speculate that rookie Joseph Randle will turn into the team's featured back after posting 11 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown in Murray's absence against the Redskins. The team also has Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner, who have just 70 combined carries in their NFL careers.
With a thinning defensive line and a lack of depth in the backfield, Dallas will be tested in Week 7 and beyond in light of these recent injuries.