IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time this week as they prepare for Sunday night's game with the Saints.
The injury situation seems a bit more manageable this week as the club got two linemen back on the field, including defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who suffered a concussion in practice last week and missed the Falcons game.
Mincey's absence was felt in a major way as the Cowboys generated little pass rush on Matt Ryan and then had trouble stopping the run as Atlanta outscored Dallas 22-0 in the second half.
On the flip side, the Cowboys didn't run the ball well in the second half and maybe the return of guard Ron Leary can help. Leary has missed two straight games with a groin injury but returned to practice on Wednesday.
[embeddedad0]However, Leary's replacement – rookie La'el Collins – has played well in his first two games, including his first career start on Sunday. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects Leary to return to the starting lineup at left guard when he's healthy.
- Cornerback Brandon Carr was not on the field for the first portion of Wednesday's practice. However, club officials indicated his absence was not injury-related.
- Newly-acquired defensive lineman David Irving practiced for the first time since being signed off the Chiefs practice squad. Jason Garrett spoke highly of Irving in his press conference and said he views him more of a defensive end in the 4-3 scheme. "He's a big talented rusher as a defensive linemen. He's a young player. Obviously he's inexperienced but you see a lot of the traits that you like in your defensive linemen. He's big, he's long, he's quick, he's explosive and we can get him in here and give him a chance to show us what he has.
- Tight end Jason Witten was limited in practice by three different injuries last week but managed to play Sunday, continuing his games-played streak to 190 games. Garrett said he doesn't expected Witten to be limited this week. "I think he's feeling good. He did a really good job with his rehab last week. He was practicing almost at full strength by the end of the week and certainly played a good ballgame for us. We anticipate his injury being behind him."