FRISCO, Texas – Just like that, the Cowboys' pass rush has taken a huge hit.
The Cowboys were already down one starter, as they wait to find out if Randy Gregory can return from the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to their trip to L.A.
They were dealt another blow on Wednesday, as DeMarcus Lawrence exited practice with a foot injury and did not return. That injury has now been diagnosed as a broken foot. The exact timetable for return isn't yet clear, but it's expected Lawrence will miss significant time.
Something similar happened to Lawrence all the way back in 2014, during his rookie season. That injury occurred during training camp, and Lawrence didn't play his first game until Nov. 2. It's too soon to say how long he might miss this time around, but it's a good bet he won't be back in the near future.
It's a terrible blow to a unit that was already short on depth with Lawrence in the lineup. The Cowboys were already planning to lean on Dorance Armstrong if Gregory wasn't available this weekend. Armstrong played 27 snaps last week against Tampa Bay and tallied two tackles. Fellow backup Tarell Basham played 24 snaps and also finished with two tackles.
Bradlee Anae and Azur Kamara round out the defensive end depth chart, but neither has played much in the way of meaningful NFL football. After being inactive to start the season last week, Kamara has yet to appear in a regular season game.
This is obviously a fluid situation. Gregory could still return from the COVID list in time to play, but that's far from a guarantee. Without Gregory and Lawrence in the lineup, the Cowboys have a combined 10 career sacks among the rest of their edge rushers.
Given the strength of the Chargers' offensive line, not to mention the talent of reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert – that's quite a troubling proposition.