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Surging Defensive Line Poised To Take On Banged Up Washington Front

FRISCO, Texas - When Tyrone Crawford was asked this week about the potential of the Cowboys' defense, he naturally pointed towards the impact of he and his fellow pass rushers.

"The sky's the limit," Crawford said. "If we continue to get pressure from all sides and up the middle it will continue to be great for us. If we can do it this week we should have some success up there."

If you take a look at the Redskins' injury report, it seems the Cowboys will have plenty of potential to get pressure from "all sides and up the middle." Washington's offensive line has been banged up by injuries as of late. Four of their five starting offensive linemen are dealing with injuries that leave their status up in the air.

The Redskins' starting guard, Brandon Scherff sprained his MCL last Monday night against the Eagles, but may attempt to play with a brace on his knee. Left tackle Trent Williams and center Spencer Long are both dealing with knee injuries as well. Right tackle Morgan Moses sprained both ankles.

These kind of injures are always worrisome for arguably the most physically taxing positions in football, but they are seriously compounded by two factors: Washington's short week coming off of playing in Monday Night Football and the emergence of a dangerous Cowboys pass rushing attack.

When asked in his conference call what the status of his offensive line was Wednesday morning, Redskins coach Jay Gruden's response sounded half joking, half exasperated.

"That's a great question," Gruden replied.

Gruden turned Wednesday into an off day for the Redskins. Washington normally practices on Wednesday, even on short weeks, but Gruden needed to try to buy some rest for his ailing players.

Injuries are a part of the NFL, and sometimes they seem to come in waves. As someone who has to clash with linemen constantly Crawford has plenty of sympathy for the Redskins situation.

"It's always unfortunate when guys go down," Crawford said. "You have to think about them and their families. I'm praying for those guys."

But that doesn't mean Crawford isn't aware of the opportunity that it presents. He sees the pass rush as the key to the defense, so there's definitely a job to do. 

"When backups are in you try to take advantage of it," Crawford admitted. "We're going to go in there and try to take advantage of what the situation is."

If last Sunday is any indication, they seemed poised to take advantage of that situation. Against San Francisco, the Cowboys sacked quarterback C.J. Beathard five times for a loss of 48 yards. Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, David Irving, and Damien Wilson all recorded sacks.

 Lawrence is currently second in the NFL in sacks with 9.5. After Sunday's game he said that the entire defensive line is on the same page, and considering the circumstances, that might be bad news for Kirk Cousins.

[We're] a group of brothers going after the one common goal and that's the quarterback," Lawrence said.

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