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All Eyes On CB & WR Depth Heading Into Cowboys' Trip To Arizona
FRISCO, Texas – It’s looking like the Cowboys may be a bit thin on the edge of the formation when they kick off in Arizona on Monday.
With the Cowboys completing their final practice on Saturday, it was confirmed that they’ll be without two cornerbacks for this Week 3 game. Nolan Carroll was ruled out by the concussion he suffered in Denver last week, and Chidobe Awuzie was confirmed out with his hamstring injury.
On the opposite side, wide receiver looks like a question mark for Monday. Terrance Williams returned to practice on Saturday after sitting out Friday, but he was listed as questionable.
“We wanted him to practice yesterday, but we felt like it was in his best interest not to practice. But hopefully he can do something today,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
Brice Butler is also questionable with an ankle injury he suffered during practice.
Those problems are going to force at least some lineup shuffles this week. Orlando Scandrick is set to return from the broken hand that held him out last week, but the loss of both Awuzie and Carroll may force them to promote Bené Benwikere to the game day roster.
The Cowboys traded for Benwikere the weekend before the season started, offering Cincinnati a conditional late-round draft pick. He has been inactive on game day for the first two weeks of the season, but that looks likely to change against the Cardinals.
“He’s done a nice job, obviously coming in here late without training camp and learning the basis of our defense and he’s been catching up a little bit,” Garrett said. “But he’s a smart guy, you can tell he’s played a lot of football and is a good athlete.”
Adding Benwikere to the mix along with Scandrick, Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown will give the Cowboys four healthy corners. Rookie safety Xavier Woods played some nickel back last week in an emergency situation, and Garrett said the coaches have other options if their depth is tested.
“The other guy that helps us in the secondary is Byron Jones. He’s been playing safety for us, but he’s somebody who can go play corner if we need to,” he said. “We got stretched last week. Guys were playing some different spots, but I think they all responded well and they’ll be better for the experience.”
For the offense, the health of Williams and Butler will bear monitoring – and it may lead to a second-straight appearance by Noah Brown. The rookie receiver made his NFL debut last week in Denver, but he was mainly limited to special teams while Williams and Butler played through the game.
If either veteran can’t go on Monday night, Brown will be the next man up – and Garrett said the Cowboys have confidence in him.
“He’s someone who’s versatile – he can play different spots for us,” he said. “He has the skillset and he has the mental capability of doing it, and that’s a really important thing for someone who’s down the line as one of your receivers.” Read