IRVING, Texas – Any other day, losing a highly-drafted rookie with so much promise for an entire month might garner more headlines, but the focus here at Valley Ranch naturally centered more on the loss of Dez Bryant and his 4-6 week foot injury.
But losing rookie Randy Gregory for at least four weeks will certainly hurt the defense as well.
Head coach Jason Garrett said that is Gregory's timetable but like all injuries, the club is hoping for the best on a high-ankle sprain he suffered in the second half.
"We heard four weeks, but again, these are estimates that trainers and doctors make based on history," Garrett said of Gregory. "So you evaluate the player, really day by day to see how they're doing and you make the adjustments accordingly. So we don't get too caught up in these things being etched in stone. They certainly help us make some judgments about what we might have to do with the roster, but these aren't hard and fast timetables."
Before his injury, Gregory was making a difference. He recovered a would-be fumble down the field although the officials ruled the play as an incomplete pass. He got plenty of pressure on Eli Manning during the passing downs.
"He was actually pretty productive. I think he played 18 snaps in the game and had a number of factors in the game," Garrett said of Gregory's NFL debut. "(He) disrupted in the run game and also rushing the quarterback. He was around the quarterback a lot. He did a good job of affecting him, and I thought he had a really positive impact on the game."
Garrett didn't rule out the possibility of signing another defensive end to the roster although one of the seven inactive players might be the immediate answer for Gregory. Fifth-round pick Ryan Russell made the 53-man roster and could be active Sunday against the Eagles on Sunday.
"Obviously you want to have a lot of defensive linemen in this system. You need defensive ends and you need defensive tackles," Garrett said. "So we'll assess what we feel like we have on our roster right now and what might be out there to help our team. We'll have those discussions here in the next few hours."
Another injury that could be problematic for the Cowboys involves guard Ron Leary, who couldn't finish the game with a groin injury. Veteran Mackenzy Bernadeau played most of the second half at left guard and could find himself starting this week if Leary can't go.
Garrett called Leary "day-to-day" and said safety J.J. Wilcox (broken nose) should be fine this week as well.