EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dez Bryant is bound to dominate the headlines, but the Cowboys had to designate six other players inactive on Sunday, as well.
Bryant was officially ruled out of Sunday's rematch with New York on Saturday afternoon, so it's not surprising to see the All-Pro among the Cowboys' seven inactives. But joining him on the sideline will be Kellen Moore, Tyler Patmon, Rod Smith, Ron Leary, Geoff Swaim and Ryan Russell.
Among those six other names, Patmon is probably the most surprising. The second-year corner entered the season as the Cowboys' slot cornerback after Orlando Scandrick was lost to a torn ACL. He factored heavily in the first month of the season, but he split time with Corey White in the Cowboys' Week 5 loss to New England.
Patmon being made inactive would seem to indicate that White, a fourth-year veteran acquired in free agency, has claimed the slot job for himself entering the sixth game of the season. White spent his first three seasons in New Orleans and was noted for his versatility between the slot and the outside.
It's also a bit surprising to see Leary relegated to the sideline. He was the starter at left guard throughout the preseason, but a groin injury in Week 1 opened the door for La'el Collins to push for the job. Collins was named the starter last week, and Sunday will mark his second career start – though the last one came while Leary was injured.
With Leary inactive, Mackenzy Bernadeau will be the primary backup at both guard positions as well as the center spot.
The rest of the inactives aren't particularly surprising. The Cowboys' rushing game will benefit from the return of James Hanna, who was listed as questionable throughout the week. Hanna's availability sends Swaim to the inactive list, given the lack of need for a fourth tight end.
Newly-acquired running back Rod Smith will also be inactive for his first game with the team. The Cowboys claimed him off waivers last week when he was released by Seattle. The Cowboys have stated their intention to work fellow former Seahawk Christine Michael into the game plan this week, and Smith is the odd man out.
Moore will be inactive as the Cowboys' third quarterback, meaning Brandon Weeden will serve as the backup for new starter Matt Cassel.