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Mick Shots: Say It Ain't So Charles, Lee Still Iffy & That Offensive Line Play

FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys haven't lost two consecutive games since dropping the final four in 2015, and after losing to the Los Angeles Rams this past Sunday, who should come up next snooping around but the Green Bay Packers. You might know the Cowboys have dropped six of their past seven games to the Packers, including being eliminated from the 2014 and 2016 playoffs by the Pack.

         But it's a new year, right, and the Cowboys did beat the Packers 30-16 in Green Bay during the 2016 regular season last year for only their second victory ever at Lambeau in 10 tries, dating back to the first meeting up there in 1960. The only other Cowboys victory at Lambeau occurred in 2008, 27-16, when the Cowboys sacked Aaron Rodgers five times. So let's start sharpening up for the 3:25 p.m. game Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

  • Gosh darn it, Charles Tapper just can't buy a break. Inactive the past two games, sure seemed like it was possible he would have been active Sunday against the Packers, with the Cowboys looking for someone – anyone – to emerge at defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. But on Wednesday, Tapper limped off from practice, and he was headed out later in a walking boot and on crutches for X-rays likely to confirm he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. That usually is a six- to eight-week recovery.
  • If so, and the Cowboys place last year's first fourth-round pick on injured reserve – again, for the second time in two years – that would open up the 53-man roster spot for defensive lineman David Irving, who is returning from his four-game suspension. The Cowboys do have a one-game roster exemption for Irving, which allows him to practice without officially being placed on the 53-man roster this week, but sure appears he is ready to go. And in an effort to start their four best defensive linemen, don't be surprised if Irving begins playing inside at the 1-technique, especially since Stephen Paea still is being held out of practice with a sore knee.
  • Linebacker Sean Lee appears close to returning from that strained hamstring, but possibly not close enough to step onto the field just yet. The Cowboys and Lee realize the bye is next week, which would give him extra time to recover. And while Lee did not actually practice on Wednesday – he did some drills on the side and continued to rehab on the resistance cords – Anthony Hitchens (fractured tibial plateau) worked in pads on Wednesday for the first time since sustaining his injury in the preseason game against Oakland. Hitchens said he'd know for sure if he's ready to play after evaluating his movement on the practice tape, but at least was upgraded to fully practicing on the injury report.
  • So another trickle-down effect: Assuming Hitchens is ready to go Sunday and Lee is not, the Cowboys could very well slide Hitchens into Lee's weak-side linebacker spot, leaving Jaylon Smith in the middle. Remember, the fourth-year 'backer just might have been the defensive star of training camp, and would also help out greatly on the nickel and dime defenses.
  •  Got to like center Travis Frederick's take on the Cowboys' offensive line play, which at times so far this season has been spotty. "If one block fails, oftentimes that causes the failure of the play as a whole group," he says. Takes me back to my analogy last week on this subject of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders famed kick-line. If one member's kicks are failing, like coming up short or out of rhythm, that pulls down the DCC on each side of her, too, further causing a chain reaction. 
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