IRVING, Texas – Short-handedness at the linebacker spot was once again an issue for the Cowboys as they began their preparations for Seattle on Wednesday.
Only four of the seven linebackers on the Cowboys' active roster went through Wednesday morning's practice, as Bruce Carter, Rolando McClain and Cameron Lawrence all sat out. Two of those absences were expected, as Carter is still recovering from a quad strain, while McClain is still dealing with a groin injury. It remains to be seen what forced Lawrence out of action.
Photos from Wednesdays practice at Valley Ranch.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning that he was "pleasantly surprised" about McClain's overall health when team trainers looked at him Monday. His schedule for the rest of the week is unknown, but he did play in Week 4 against New Orleans despite practicing just one day.
With that trio sitting out, the Cowboys are left with Justin Durant, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber and Korey Toomer as their active linebackers for the time being. They also have practice squad linebacker Keith Smith, who has bounced between the practice squad and the 53-man roster because of injuries.
Much has been made of Toomer's limited role this season, despite the Cowboys claiming him off waivers from Seattle. It will be interesting to see if his workload increases, especially with the Cowboys preparing to face his former team.
"We like him. We think he has a chance to be a good player. And he has potential for us," Garrett said. "But sometimes when you get a player like that, he is still learning what we are asking him to do, both on special teams and as a defensive player, and you want to continue to grow and develop him as the weeks go on and over the course of the year."
On the offensive side of the ball, Tony Romo continued his recent trend of sitting out of Wednesday's practice. This is the fourth-straight week Romo has rested on Wednesday, though he did go through the team's morning walkthrough.
[embedded_ad] "We believe in practice and guys fighting through it and getting out there," Garrett said. "But at the same time, we have to be mindful of the workload they're getting in during the week to make sure it's appropriate for them to play on Sunday based on the injury they have. We'll do that with Tony, we'll do that with other guys as well."
Backup tackle Jermey Parnell was the only other offensive player to miss Wednesday's practice.
LaRon Byrd, a training camp standout who was re-signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, was at practice for the first time since the Cowboys released him in August. He will wear the same No. 80 he wore during camp.