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Mailbag: Starting Defensive Line? Injuries Affecting The 53-Man Roster?

JOHNNY PETERSONFAYETTEVILLE, NC
If the season started today, the Cowboys' defensive line starters would be?

Bryan: Sept. 10th against the New York Giants. Tyrone Crawford, Stephen Paea, Maliek Collins, DeMarcus Lawrence will be your starters. 

David:I'm curious to see just how effective Tyrone Crawford will be by the time the season opener rolls around. He looks like he's making a lot of progress in his recovery, but I wonder how much the coaches will want him to play in a live game. My guess is that when the season opens, we'll see Benson Mayowa at right end with DeMarcus Lawrence on the left side. My starting defensive tackles are Maliek Collins and Stephen Paea.

BRIAN BREURCHARLOTTE, NC
Do you think that there is a point, where a player like Jourdan Lewis or Rico Gathers is placed on the injured reserve with the ability to return at a point in the season?  Especially if Jourdan can't get the hamstring issue taken care of or if Rico can't get out of concussion protocol.  That would allow you to hold on to them while they get healed and keep a Noah Brown, or a Duke Thomas.

Bryan: I could see that with Gathers more than Lewis. From what I've heard Lewis is closer to coming back to practice than Gathers. But the way you've presented this does give you options. 

David:We don't know the severity of Gathers' concussion, so it's a bit hard to speculate. My only problem with that idea is that if Gathers is on injured reserve, he can't practice. If he can't practice, he isn't developing as a player. Obviously, if he needs the time to recover, that's what needs to happen. But if he's healthy, I'd prefer he practice and improve.

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