IRVING, Texas – Tom Brady had only been sacked five times once in his 16-year career before last Sunday. The Cowboys did it in a single half.
The final score was a 30-6 loss to the defending champion Patriots, but defensively, the Dallas pass rush got three combined sacks from returning defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain.
Randy Gregory can only help the emerging group.
The rookie is getting closer to returning from the high ankle sprain he suffered in the Sept. 13 season opener against the Giants – possibly as soon as the Oct. 25 rematch at New York after the bye week. Gregory took part in the first practice of the bye week on Wednesday -- his first practice participation since Week 1.
In September, the team set a tentative four-week timetable for Gregory. Until Wednesday, he hadn't practiced since the injury but had progressed in his rehab with the athletic training and strength and conditioning staff.
"He was out on the practice field at the end of last week doing some stuff," Garrett said Monday, "so hopefully he responds well to that work and we'll take him day by day this week."
Gregory, the team's second-round pick, had three sacks in three preseason games and was one of the more consistent defensive players throughout training camp.
When healthy, he'll enter a pass rushing rotation featuring Hardy, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jeremy Mincey and Jack Crawford.
He's looking forward to it.
"We've got a lot of guys that can play different spots in there," Gregory said after the Patriots game. "And hopefully it will get better once I get there.
"I think it's still kind of early to determine that (returning for the next game against New York), but I'm doing all the right things off the field to get back on the field and I think the progress is right on track for what we set it on beginning after the injury."