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GameDay Blog: O-Line Adjusts; Hat Trick; More

Follow along with the very latest Cowboys updates as staff writers David Helman, Rob Phillips, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus provide in-depth news and analysis.

Offensive Line Continues To Adjust

(Nov. 22; 10 p.m.) – Cameron Fleming didn't know he would be making his first start of the season until he got to work on Thanksgiving.

The veteran offensive tackle's last non-preseason start was Super Bowl LII as a member of the New England Patriots. He got the call at left tackle Thursday against the Washington Redskins when Tyron Smith was unable to play due to a neck stinger suffered this past Sunday on the Cowboys' winning fourth-quarter drive against the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith practiced on a limited basis during the short week and was listed as questionable against Washington. He told reporters after the game that he's planning on being available next Thursday against the New Orleans Saints. The Cowboys return to practice Sunday.

Fleming and the offensive line withstood pressure from Washington's talented defensive front. It was the third lineup change this season among the five starting spots. Joe Looney has filled in for center Travis

Frederick (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) all season, and Xavier Su'a-Filo made his third straight start at left guard since rookie Connor Williams' knee scope three weeks ago.

"You have a team that is flexible and adaptable," Fleming said. "We keep stacking wins no matter who is in there. I think it's a tribute to everybody and our mental toughness and our physical toughness."

-_Rob Phillips


Defense Sets New Bar For Takeaways

(Nov. 22; 9:30 p.m.) – As well as the defense has played all season – they entered Thanksgiving ranked eighth in total yardage allowed and third in points allowed – their biggest focus has been creating more turnovers.

The group took a step forward Thursday with a season-high three takeaways (an interception each from defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and defensive backs Anthony Brown and Xavier Woods) that flipped field position and led to seven points in the Cowboys' 31-23 home victory over the Washington Redskins.

With no turnovers by the offense, the Cowboys improved their season turnover differential to plus-three.

-Rob Phillips

Tyron Smith Active But Not In Starting Lineup

(Nov. 22; 3:45 p.m.) – Veteran left tackle Tyron Smith (neck) is active on Thanksgiving against Washington, but so far Cameron Fleming is starting in his place.

Smith suffered a stinger this past Sunday at Atlanta and was a limited participant during a short week of practice. The Cowboys listed him as questionable for today's game.

Smith got hurt on the final drive of the game against the Falcons but told reporters he would be fine. He's dressed out on the sideline at AT&T Stadium today.

-Rob Phillips

Taco Charlton Ruled Out For Thanksgiving Game

(Nov. 22; 2:00 p.m.) – It'll be another touch-and-go week for the Dallas defensive line, as the Cowboys continue to cope with injuries.

The Cowboys will welcome Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross back to the lineup for Thursday's game against Washington, but Taco Charlton has been ruled out of the game with a shoulder injury.

Charlton suffered the injury against Tennessee back in Week 9, and he has missed the Cowboys' last two games. There had been optimism that he would be able to go this week against Washington, but the Cowboys ruled him out 90 minutes prior to kick off.

All told, the full list of inactives is: Mike White, Tavon Austin, Sean Lee, Adam Redmond, Geoff Swaim, David Irving and Charlton.

Charlton is the only surprise among the seven. Austin and Lee have been coping with injuries for a while and did not figure to be back in time for this game. Redmond was listed on Wednesday's practice report with a concussion and was ruled out. Swaim suffered a broken bone in his left wrist on Sunday and underwent surgery this week. Meanwhile, Irving is still recovering from the sprained ankle he suffered during practice several weeks ago.

That means it'll once again be a challenge for this Dallas defensive front. Woods figures to plug back into his starting one-technique spot, and Ross will be able to provide some valuable depth.

Charlton's absence will likely shuffle things once again, though. Tyrone Crawford has spent much of the season at defensive tackle, but he'll likely play some at end once again to help the defense cope without Charlton.

With Swaim sidelined, tight end is another position worth watching. The trio of Dalton Schultz, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers will be active, and the Cowboys will likely lean on all three to help replicate Swaim's production.

-David Helman