IRVING, Texas - For the first time since 2012, Josh Brent will be available to play for the Cowboys when they take on the Giants Sunday night.
Then again, that doesn't exactly mean the Cowboys will exercise that option.
Brent is on the roster, but it's still unclear whether he will be ready to play on the 46-man active list. The Cowboys don't have to decide the game-day roster until 90 minutes before kickoff on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Brent has improved in practice, but wouldn't commit to his playing status.
"I think he's had some good, solid workdays out there for us. He's fairly nimble," Marinelli said. "He's getting in better shape. He's really strong at the point. I've seen more than that. The guy's a good athlete. Right now it's about conditioning and getting in better shape and keying into what we're doing."
Head coach Jason Garrett publicly said Brent needed to shed a few pounds and when asked again this week, Garrett said progress was being made.
But the Cowboys are also getting some help back at defensive tackle this week in the form of Tyrone Crawford, who missed the last game with a sprained knee.
"I think he has had two good days of practice," Marinelli said. "Looks like he is back and rolling."
Crawford has been one of the more consistent pass-rushers for the Cowboys, ranking second on the squad with 20.
If Brent is active, he'll likely join a rotation that includes Crawford, Henry Melton, Nick Hayden and Terrell McClain.
"I think it's been solid. We still want more and I think we'll get that," Marinelli said of the defensive tackle rotation. "I think they're getting better. The biggest thing that helps us is by rotating them, I've said this before, the number of snaps in the game are down, they feel better during the week and they practice really well. They're healthy to go practice. This time of year, a lot of times if you're not rotating guys, guys are beat up and their practice is limited and their growth is limited."
The Cowboys could even have another player in the defensive line mix with Jack Crawford, who has two sacks, including one in the last game against Jacksonville. Crawford has lined up at both end and tackle and gives the Cowboys a more versatile pass-rusher who can play on the nickel and dime defenses.