Dallas Cowboys Updates

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Updates: Awuzie Stays on IR; Won't Play Sunday

Don't miss any of the action with our daily updates: news, notes and more throughout the Cowboys' regular season. Presented by Sleep Number

4:33 p.m. – While signs were pointing all week of Chido Awuzie making his return to action this week, the cornerback remains on IR with a hamstring injury and won't play Sunday vs. Philadelphia.

Awuzie, the only player on the team with an interception this season, hasn't played since Week 2 when he suffered the injury late in the Falcons game.

The Cowboys have struggled in not only taking the ball away, but giving up the deep ball. Rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs is expected to start again, along with Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis.

The Cowboys cut veteran Daryl Worley this week, seemingly to make room for Awuzie. Instead, the team elevated Savion Smith from the practice squad.

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4:18 p.m. – Veteran linebacker Sean Lee is expected to make his debut for his 11th pro season. The Cowboys activated him from injured reserve on Saturday, putting him on the roster for the first time since undergoing a sports hernia surgery in September.

Lee, who has battled injuries his entire career, is coming off his only 16-game season of his career in 2019.

The Cowboys will likely use Lee in a rotation at linebacker with starters Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. Veteran Joe Thomas will probably get a few snaps on defense as well.

Lee has 16 career games of at least 15 tackles. His last came at the end of last year when he racked up 16 at Philadelphia.

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Oct. 30 Updates

3:42 p.m. – It's rare to hear a member of the front office speak in absolutes, so it was noteworthy that Stephen Jones did so on Friday.

The Cowboys' chief operating officer was asked during his weekly interview on 105.3 FM The Fan about the idea that the Cowboys could consider trading Michael Gallup before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline. Jones was emphatic with his answer.

"No. Michael is on our team, see him having a bright future here in Dallas," he said. "No interest in trading Michael."

Given his obvious talent and his affordable rookie contract, Gallup has been at the center of a lot of trade speculation this season. After Jones' comments Friday, it feels safe to say the speculation can stop.

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2:46 p.m. – Andy Dalton is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday's road game against the Eagles.

Dalton has been in concussion protocol this week and currently isn't scheduled to practice Saturday, head coach Mike McCarthy said Friday morning.

With Dalton doubtful for Sunday, that means rookie Ben DiNucci appears likely to make his first career start.

One addition to Friday's injury report: punter Chris Jones with an abdomen injury. But Jones doesn't carry an injury designation heading into Sunday, so he should be ready to play.

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Eagles.

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Oct. 29 Updates

3:19 p.m. – So, how has rookie Ben DiNucci looked in two practices with the first-team offense this week?

"He's been slinging that thing," wide receiver Michael Gallup said. "He's been good. He comes up after every period that we've got and he's like, 'My job is actually pretty easy, I've just got to get you three (Gallup, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb) the ball and let y'all go to work. It's not that hard.' So it's been good."

DiNucci, a seventh-round pick out of James Madison, is preparing to start in case Andy Dalton (concussion) is unable to play Sunday at Philadelphia. Dalton remained in concussion protocol Thursday and has not practiced this week.

If DiNucci does start Sunday, this week's practice reps with the receivers are critical. Third on the depth chart since training camp, the rookie hasn't really taken reps with the starting offense until now.

Mobility and arm talent, as Gallup referenced, are two of DiNucci's strengths.

"I knew he had it. It's just like now I'm catching it," Gallup said. "He's got a little speed up under that ball. It gets up on you quick. It's just something you've got to get used to."

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2:56 p.m. -- Zack Martin went through another full practice Thursday as the Cowboys continued prep for Sunday night's game at Philadelphia.

Martin did not play last Sunday against Washington due to a concussion.

Quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) did not practice again Thursday as rookie Ben DiNucci continues preparing to possibly start against Philly.

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Eagles.

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Oct. 28 Updates

4:38 p.m. -- Zack Martin went through a full practice Wednesday, an encouraging sign that he'll be ready Sunday against Philadelphia after the Pro Bowl guard missed Week 7 against Washington due to a concussion.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "I think today was another step for me to get practice reps, feel some contact and it felt good with all that stuff. Confident going into this week I'll be ready to go."

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Eagles.

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4:08 p.m. - Linebacker Sean Lee has yet to play in one of the first seven games this year. But perhaps that could change on Sunday when the Cowboys take on Philadelphia.

Lee, who underwent a sports hernia surgery in September, has returned to practice. And head coach Mike McCarthy said, depending on how he looks this week, "maybe he's ready to go Sunday night."

At 34, Lee will be the oldest player on the defense and second-oldest on the roster behind 39-year-old long snapper L.P. Ladouceur.

3:51 p.m. - The Cowboys are exploring their options at quarterback, and one them includes a familiar face. Cooper Rush could sign with the Cowboys as early as next week, probably to the practice squad.

The team has decided to put Rush in their COVID-19 testing protocol. NFL rules state that players must pass six tests before entering the facility. So Rush would likely be available to practice next week before the Pittsburgh game.

Rush certainly has a familiarity with OC Kellen Moore and this offense. Currently, the Cowboys have Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert behind Andy Dalton, who is the concussion protocol and could miss Sunday's game in Philly.

Rush joined the Cowboys in 2017 as a rookie free agent. He made the team and served as Dak Prescott's backup for three years, playing in only five games.

He was released by the Cowboys this offseason and signed with the Giants and new OC Jason Garrett. Rush was cut by the Giants on Sept. 29.

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11:53 a.m. - Veteran center Joe Looney is back on the practice field and has a shot to play this week against the Eagles.

Looney suffered a sprained MCL in his knee on the first play from scrimmage against Cleveland back on Oct. 4. He was moved to IR but has missed three games, which makes him eligible to return this week.

Coach Mike McCarthy didn't elaborate on Looney's chances of playing or if he would regain his starting spot. Rookie Tyler Biadasz has started the last three weeks at center. However, there is a chance Looney could return and perhaps play at guard if the Cowboys shuffle around a few starters against the Eagles.

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12:26 p.m. – In his regular Wednesday press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy said Everson Griffen was the only announcement he had for the media.

Griffen was traded to Detroit on Tuesday, but there have been reports and speculation concerning both Daryl Worley and Dontari Poe.

When asked about their status, McCarthy said he would only address the Griffen situation, and then repeated his stance when asked if those two veterans would practice on Wednesday.

It has been reported that Worley and Poe would either be traded or released this week. Both players were not on the field during the open portion of Wednesday's practice.

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Oct. 26 Updates

6:24 p.m. – The Cowboys made a couple roster moves Monday, waiving linebacker Rashad Smith and signing punter Hunter Niswander to the practice squad.

The club has veteran punter Chris Jones on the 53-man roster, but special teams coordinator John Fassel said Niswander, a former Northwestern punter, adds insurance at punter and place kicks/kickoffs in an emergency situation.

With the NFL's expanded COVID-19 testing protocols, it takes close to a week before a new player can officially join a team. So having Niswander ready is important in case Jones or kicker Greg Zuerlein were to get injured.

"We had a spot open on the practice squad, so we just thought it would be smart to cover ourselves so if something happened we would have somebody in here that could do the punting, the kicking off or the field goals just in case something happened – which hasn't happened, but we thought we'd cover ourselves right there."

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Oct. 25 Updates

5:53 p.m. – Ben DiNucci made his NFL debut six days ago against Arizona, but Sunday the rookie quarterback was pressed into extensive action after Andy Dalton – filling in for an injured Dak Prescott (ankle surgery) – suffered a concussion in the third quarter against Washington.

DiNucci played final quarter and a half and completed 2 of 3 passes for 39 yards with three sacks.

"Obviously, coming from James Madison, you don't see guys like (Washington defensive end) Chase Young coming at you every day," DiNucci said. "But the bottom line is that football is football. It's the same game I've been playing since I was in the seventh grade, so I couldn't do anything else except go out there with a smile and got in the huddle and said, 'Let's go. Let's have some fun. We got nothing to lose and it's raining and there's no one in the stands, so let's create our own energy here and try to find some positives from this thing and go put points on the board.'"

Dalton's status for Week 8 at Philadelphia is uncertain. If he can't play next Sunday, DiNucci would likely make the first start of his career.

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4:51 p.m. – After a game like that, teams need their leaders to not only step up, but speak up. DeMarcus Lawrence said the performance falls on his shoulders as much as anyone.

"Just to go out there and not be able to put a complete game together, it's tough to be a part of it… be a lot of the cause of it because I do pride myself on being a leader of this team," Lawrence said. "And when us as a team don't come out and perform like we're supposed to it hurts a lot. So it's really all about just getting back in there tomorrow morning and learning from our mistakes and getting better from it."

Lawrence recorded his second sack of the season but ultimately, there wasn't enough pressure by the defense, which allowed 20+ first-half points for the sixth straight game, an NFL record.

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4:33 p.m. - The rookie receiver entered the game as the only player in NFL history to record at least five catches in the first six games of his career.

That came to a crashing end Sunday as Lamb was shut out with no catches, to go along with a few costly drops, including one in the end zone.

"It's frustrating on my part and I definitely didn't do my job," Lamb said. "Had one too many drops, couldn't contribute to the offense, couldn't contribute to any yards and you saw it out there today."

Lamb, who had one screen that was ruled as a running play for one yard, didn't use the steady rain as a factor.

"It didn't factor at all, honestly. It didn't," he said. "It's just going out there and execution, that's all it's all about at the end of the day. Going out, executing, beating the guy in front of you and we failed to do that."

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4:22 p.m. - While he's had his troubles this year as a kick returner, Pollard was finally able to break through for a long return Sunday. His 67-yard runback in the first quarter was the longest of his career, and the longest by a Cowboys player since 2015.

"It was good just to get open and get into daylight… just to get that feeling back," Pollard said. "We just got to execute as a team and be better."

And considering Pollard's return led to the team's only field goal, the dazzling return by the second-year running back might have prevented a shutout.

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2:26 p.m. – Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton is being evaluated for a concussion after taking a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic in the third quarter at FedExField.

Dalton was attempting to slide on a scramble, but Bostic's hit bounced Dalton's head off the field, his helmet skittering across the grass. Down for several minutes, he was able to walk off the field with assistance from the athletic training staff.

This was Dalton's second start for injured starter Dak Prescott (ankle surgery). Rookie Ben DiNucci has taken over at quarterback.

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10:46 a.m. – As expected, defensive end Randy Gregory is officially active for the first time this season and the first time since late in the 2018 season.

Conditionally reinstated by the NFL in early September, this is the first week Gregory is eligible for game action. With Gregory active, rookie defensive end Bradlee Anae is inactive for the first time this year.

Seven players are inactive for Sunday's game at Washington, most notably All-Pro guard Zack Martin, who was ruled out Friday with a concussion suffered last Monday night against Arizona.

The full inactive list:

QB Garrett Gilbert
WR Malik Turner
FS Reggie Robinson
LB Rashad Smith
DE Bradlee Anae
LB Luke Gifford
G Zack Martin

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10:45 a.m. -- Cowboys captains for Sunday at Washington:

WR CeeDee Lamb (offense)
DE Everson Griffen (defense)
WR Noah Brown (special teams)

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Oct. 24 Updates

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1:49 p.m. – With Brandon Knight moving to injured reserve, the Cowboys added some depth to their offensive line on Saturday.

As expected, veteran tackle Cameron Erving has been activated from injured reserve. Erving injured his knee in the season opener against Los Angeles and has been on the mend ever since.

With the rash of injuries along the offensive line, it's likely Erving will start at left tackle in his first game back. Knight had been manning the left side for much of the last month, but he is now coping with a knee injury of his own.

The club also elevated two offensive linemen from the practice squad – Jordan Mills and Adam Redmond. Mills has been in the league since 2013 and has made 84 career starts, while Redmond has spent three seasons with the Cowboys, making 10 appearances in that span.

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1:42 p.m. – The Cowboys moved two players to injured reserve ahead of their trip to Washington.

Brandon Knight was officially placed on IR on Saturday afternoon, just four days after he underwent a minor knee scope. The second-year tackle injured his knee Monday night against Arizona and will officially miss at least three games before he can return.

Practice squad cornerback Rashard Robinson was also moved to the practice squad injured reserve. The Cowboys signed the veteran defensive back to their practice squad at the outset of the season, and he has yet to see the active roster.

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Oct. 23 Updates

3 p.m. – The Cowboys have officially ruled out Zack Martin for Sunday's game at Washington.

The Pro Bowl guard is still in the NFL's concussion protocol following Monday night's loss to Arizona.

Left tackle Brandon Knight has also been ruled out of Sunday's game, as expected. Knight had knee surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks, head coach Mike McCarthy said.

Defensive end Aldon Smith (neck) does not carry an injury designation for Sunday's game, so he should be ready to play.

Click here for the full injury report for the Cowboys and Washington.

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11:08 a.m. - The veteran pass-rusher is expected to play this Sunday in Washington. Smith missed Wednesday's practice with a neck injury and then was upgraded to limited on Thursday.

But head coach Mike McCarthy said he expects Smith to be ready to play on Sunday. Smith is leading the Cowboys in sacks with four.

The Cowboys are hoping for a boost off the edge with the return of Randy Gregory this week, creating a pass-rushing rotation that also includes DeMarcus Lawrence and Everson Griffen.

10:57 a.m. – The Cowboys are preparing to play Sunday at Washington without All-Pro guard Zack Martin, who remains in the NFL's concussion protocol as of Friday morning.

"Unless something changes here in the next 24 hours, I don't see Zack participating," McCarthy said. "I think we all recognize it being a Monday night game (against Arizona) it was going to be a challenge. But he's still not through the protocol."

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones echoed McCarthy on 105.3 The Fan, saying the team "probably won't" have Martin available Sunday.

Connor McGovern, last year's third-round pick, filled in at right guard against Arizona this past Monday. McGovern missed all of last season with a pectoral injury.

"This is his opportunity," McCarthy said. "You look at what he went through last year and I think he's progressed each and every week. If it ends up being Connor, he will be ready to go."

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Oct. 22 Updates

4:24 p.m. – The Cowboys started the 21-day practice window for cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and linebacker Sean Lee, who are both currently on the Reserve/Injured list.

Both players can be activated from IR at any point during that time period. When they do return, the Cowboys will have to make room on the active roster to move them back to the 53.

Lee has been all IR all season recovering from core muscle surgery. Awuzie was placed on IR after hurting his hamstring in Week 2 against Atlanta.

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3:03 p.m. - The Cowboys have officially moved safety Steven Parker to the active roster. He's played the last two weeks, being elevated from the practice squad per the NFL rules that allow teams to have extra players on game day. But now Parker is on the roster as the Cowboys had an extra spot on the 53-man roster.

Parker played 24 snaps against the Giants two weeks ago, but only eight on Monday vs. Arizona.

The Cowboys also brought back cornerback Savion Smith, who was on the roster but released this week. Smith is now on the Cowboys' practice squad.

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2:57 p.m. – As head coach Mike McCarthy indicated Thursday morning, defensive end Aldon Smith was a limited participant in practice after sitting out Wednesday with a neck injury.

Guard Zack Martin (concussion) and Brandon Knight (knee) did not practice again Thursday. Martin is going through the league's concussion protocol and Knight is expected to miss at least a couple weeks after knee surgery Tuesday.

Click here for the full injury reports for the Cowboys and Washington.

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Oct. 21 Updates

4:19 p.m. – Guard Zack Martin remained in concussion protocol as the Cowboys held a lighter practice Wednesday coming off their Monday night loss to Arizona.

The Cowboys will probably have a better idea later in the week regarding Martin's status for Sunday at Washington.

"He's doing well," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I saw Zack this morning when he came in. He's obviously still in the protocol. I can't give you a specific evaluation. But he's here and working through it."

Defensive end Aldon Smith did not practice Wednesday due to a neck issue. He played the majority of the defensive snaps against the Cardinals.

Left tackle Brandon Knight did not practice due to knee surgery that will sidelined him at least a couple of weeks, according to McCarthy.

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Washington in Week 7.

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10:36 a.m. - While the Cowboys haven't gotten off to a fast start here this season, no receiver in NFL history has accomplished what CeeDee Lamb has so far through six games.

After posing seven catches on Monday, Lamb is the first player in league history to begin a career with at least five receptions in six consecutive games. He surpassed the mark set by former Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn, who have five straight games in 1996 as a rookie with the Patriots.

Lamb also has 10 receptions this year of 20+ yards, tying him with Justin Jefferson and Calvin Ridley as the most by any player in the NFL this year.

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Oct. 20 Updates

7:00 p.m. –The Cowboys are down yet another offensive tackle. Brandon Knight, who has started at left tackle the past two weeks but has played both sides this year, is expected miss a few games with a knee injury.

Mike McCarthy announced the injury Tuesday in his press conference.

Heading into this week, the Cowboys have Terence Steele, Greg Senat and Jordan Mills on the practice squad and possibly Cam Erving will come off IR, where both Tyron Smith and La'el Collins will be for the entire season.

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5:36 p.m. – Defensive end Randy Gregory is off the commissioner's exempt list and back on the Cowboys' active roster, according to the NFL's official transactions page.

Gregory is eligible to return to game action Sunday at Washington. As part of his conditional reinstatement to the league, he was cleared to begin practicing again with the team the last two weeks.

The Cowboys waived WR Ventell Bryant and DB Saivion Smith on Tuesday. Smith had been on the active roster since late September. Bryant had been on Reserve/Injured rehabbing a training camp injury.

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Oct. 19 Updates

10:33 p.m. – Guard Zack Martin left Monday's game in the first half with a concussion and did not return. He will be in the NFL's concussion protocol as the Cowboys move into Week 7 on Tuesday.

The Cowboys next play at Washington on Sunday. Martin's status for that game remains to be seen.

Connor McGovern took over at right guard for Martin. The Cowboys were already without starting offensive tackles Tyron Smith (neck) and La'el Collins (hip), who are expected to miss the rest of the season, and starting center Joe Looney (knee), who is currently on Reserve/Injured.

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5:55 p.m. – Ben DiNucci is officially the Cowboys' backup quarterback.

The rookie draft pick had been inactive for the first five weeks of the season. But with Dak Prescott on injured reserve and Andy Dalton moving into the starting lineup, DiNucci is the next man up for this Monday night game against Arizona.

The team signed journeyman quarterback Garrett Gilbert last week following Prescott's ankle injury. But due to COVID-19 protocols, it was never realistic to think Gilbert would be ready to get into the building and get ready for a game on such short notice.

Instead, it'll be DiNucci who is on notice if something happens to Dalton.

The rest of the Cowboys' inactives are fairly straightforward. With Leighton Vander Esch returning to the lineup, reserve linebackers Luke Gifford and Rashad Smith are both inactive. Reserve defensive backs Reggie Robinson and Saivion Smith are also inactive, as is sixth receiver Malik Turner.

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Oct. 17 Updates

7 p.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy says he's "definitely encouraged" about Leighton Vander Esch's chances of returning to game action Monday night against Arizona at AT&T Stadium.

"All the arrows are pointing up right now," McCarthy said.

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Last week the Cowboys activated the 21-day practice window for Vander Esch to return from Reserve/Injured. The third-year linebacker progressed to full practice Thursday, and McCarthy said Friday's padded practice went well, too.

Vander Esch underwent surgery in mid-September to repair a collarbone fracture suffered in the season opener against the Rams.

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6:59 p.m. – The Cowboys have six players listed on this week's practice report, and all should be ready for Monday night's game against Arizona.

DE Dorance Armstrong (knee), TE Blake Bell (knee), DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle), CB Trevon Diggs (knee), DE DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) and Everson Griffen (not injury related) all had full practice Friday and do not carry an injury designation for Monday's game.

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Oct. 16 Updates

10:35 p.m. – Head coach Mike McCarthy says he's "definitely encouraged" about Leighton Vander Esch's chances of returning to game action Monday night against Arizona.

"All the arrows are pointing up right now," McCarthy said.

Last week the Cowboys activated the 21-day practice window for Vander Esch to return from Reserve/Injured. The third-year linebacker moved into full practice Thursday, and McCarthy said Friday's padded practice went well, too.

Vander Esch underwent surgery in mid-September for a collarbone fracture suffered in the season opener against the Rams.

4:08 p.m. – Just over a month since surgery to repair a fractured collarbone, Leighton Vander Esch is getting closer to a return. But the Cowboys -- as always with players returning from injury -- have no intention of putting the third-year linebacker back on the field until he's absolutely ready.

"He will not go back out there if he's vulnerable in any way, inordinately vulnerable, as to certainly the injury that he has dealt with. I'll assure you of that," Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. "You can bet if he hits the field that he has complete go and a solid go to go out.

"We would not risk additional injury because of that injury, whether it's where he was injured or how he's playing because he was injured. So, all of that you can feel real good (that) if you see him on the field, he should be out there."

Vander Esch has been ahead of schedule in his rehab with the athletic training staff since undergoing surgery after the Sept. 12 opener against the Rams. He went through a full practice Thursday, so a return Monday night against Arizona seems possible, but head coach Mike McCarthy said Friday's padded practice will be an important gauge.

Currently Vander Esch is on Reserve/Injured but has started the 21-day practice window in preparation to be activated from IR within that time period.

Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan that Vander Esch has a "great opportunity" to possibly return to the lineup Monday.

"He's only played a half a game, so we've got to be careful working him back into the mix," Jones said. "But hopefully he's a go and hopefully we'll get him some significant playing time."

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4:05 p.m. -- Defensive end Everson Griffen returned to practice Friday after being excused from Thursday's practice because of a personal matter.

Click here for the full practice report for Cowboys-Cardinals in Week 6.

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10:33 a.m. - The defense wasn't exactly cured last week, allowing 27 points to a Giants' team that ranked last in scoring. But the Cowboys did get a win, and they also scored a defensive touchdown by Anthony Brown, who said the energy was different with DC Mike Nolan moving from the booth to the field.

"We get to talk to him face-to-face rather than being on the phone," Brown said. "You can feel his energy and his vibe and where he's coming from. If we messed up or if he liked what we did out there he can tell us face-to-face instead of over the phone. That's definitely a big help for us from the sideline."

Brown's scoop-and-score off a D-Law sack tied the game in the second quarter. It was Brown's first career touchdown both in the NFL or college, and his first game back after missing three games with a rib injury.

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Oct. 15 Updates

3:22 p.m. - It's hard to say that everyone on the team is healthy when the Cowboys just lost their franchise quarterback for the season, among many other injury setbacks in recent weeks. But regarding the actual 53-man roster, the Cowboys are relatively healthy, with every banged u player on the injury report practicing in full on Thursday, including DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) and Trevon Diggs (knee).

The only exception was defensive end Everson Griffen, who had a non-injury related situation that kept him from practicing at The Star.

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11:10 a.m. – Four days after surgery to repair a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, Dak Prescott is at The Star today to show support for his teammates as they return to practice.

"He's in the building and you just see the reaction everybody has that he's here," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I just think that speaks volumes about him as a man and just the electricity that he brings to our football team."

The Cowboys are confident Prescott will make a full recovery from the serious ankle injury, suffered last Sunday in the third quarter against the Giants. Speaking Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said it looks promising that Prescott will be back on the field by the spring offseason program in late April or early May.

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FAITH GodsPlan

A post shared by Dak Prescott (@_4dak) on

Prescott posted a message on his Instagram page today: "Just want everyone to know that I'm doing well and I can't thank you enough for all your love, your support, your prayers over the last few days. They've been more than overwhelming. … Just ready to start this road to comeback."

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10:58 a.m. - After missing the last four games to a broken collarbone, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is expected to practice in full on Thursday, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Vander Esch suffered the injury in Week 1 against the Rams and has been moved to injured reserve but is eligible to come off the list and onto the active roster.

That will be determined in how he practices over the next two days. The Cowboys of course have an extra day to make that decision, with the game being on Monday night.

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Oct. 14 Updates

1:23 p.m. – The Cowboys continued trying different combinations at the safety spot next to Xavier Woods last Sunday against the Giants.

Donovan Wilson made his first career start after replacing Darian Thompson in the lineup for most of the Browns game in Week 3. He played 44 of 68 defensive snaps against the Giants, and Steven Parker, elevated from the practice squad last Saturday, chipped in 24 snaps in the 37-34 victory.

Thompson, who started the first four games, helped out in the box as part of the defense's dime package in the second half.

"It's just a case of trying to utilize the young guys that we have and get them more playing time," defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said.

Cornerback Daryl Worley and recently-released Brandon Carr have also gotten snaps at safety this season.

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Oct. 13 Updates

4:45 p.m. - According to the website Pro Football Focus, only 19 players across the NFL received an overall grade of 90.0 or higher in the the Week 5 games through Monday. Of those 19, the Cowboys not only had the highest player grade, but had four players with a 90 or higher.

Leading the way was DeMarcus Lawrence, whose 94.9 grade was the highest among any player in the NFL. He had a critical sack and forced fumble that led to a game-tying touchdown. He was also credited with six quarterback pressures, after recording 11 in the previous four games combined.

PFF also gave Jaylon Smith a 92.6 grade, tied for fourth-highest. Aldon Smith got a 92.1 and CeeDee Lamb was graded at 91.0.

For what it's worth, the sixth-highest individual grade of the week went to Raiders safety Jeff Heath, who had a crucial interception in Las Vegas' win over the Chiefs.

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9:33 a.m. - The Cowboys linebacker easily had his best game of the season Sunday, recording 12 tackles, a half-sack, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hits against the Giants.

Last week, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan told reporters Smith was playing well and not deserving of the criticism he was taking in the media. Needless to say, he reiterated those sentiments this week after Smith's performance.

"Look, he's played well this year. I know he's taken some hits in the press, but I'm telling you, he's done everything to help this football team win," Nolan said. "He's done a good job. He's worked extremely hard. He's been very receptive to all the things we're trying to do. I say 'all the things' — to anything we're trying to do for that matter, whether it's simply or whatever it might be. And I think he's played well thus far. Now, he did play exceptionally well (Sunday), or maybe exceptional is too big a word. But he did play very well. He made some nice plays on the screen, was very active in the run game, graded very well, but we're very pleased with Jaylon. He's done a very good job."

Smith leads the Cowboys with 52 tackles this season.

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Oct. 12 Updates

6:05 p.m. – As offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said Monday, the team is "heartbroken" over Dak Prescott's ankle injury requiring surgery Sunday night, knowing what Prescott means to the team and how well he played in the first five games of the season.

With Prescott facing a potential four-to-six-month rehab, Moore said the team is in a "fortunate spot" to have a backup with Andy Dalton's experience: 133 starts with the Bengals from 2011-19.

"We've kind of got to regroup, go through this process of seeing what's the adjustment here, and that's just Andy and I working together and spending time together," Moore said. "Obviously it's a different dynamic. Obviously Dak and I have spent a lot of time together over these years and now Andy and I have got to spend time together and go through this process together. I don't think we're going to drastically change. We feel very confident that Andy can go out there and execute football plays and do a good job for us. We'll figure out our plan as we move forward."

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7 a.m. -- The Cowboys announced Monday morning that Dak Prescott's ankle surgery was successfully completed Sunday night, and he is expected to be released from the hospital Monday.

Prescott suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation in the third quarter of the Cowboys' win over the Giants. The injury was splinted with a sterile dressing, and he was transported to a local hospital for surgery to wash out the wound and fix the fracture.

In a statement on Prescott's injury Sunday night, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said, "He is an inspiration to everyone he touches. He has all of our love and support. And we have no doubt that he will return to the position of leadership and purpose that he brings to our team."

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Oct. 11 Updates

8:08 p.m. – Second-year defensive tackle Trysten Hill was carted off with a right knee injury in the third quarter of the Cowboys' win over the Giants.

The Cowboys announced Hill has a knee sprain and will undergo an MRI and further evaluation Monday.

Hill, a second-round draft pick in 2019, has started the first five games at defensive tackle after earning a starting job in training camp following a season-ending quad injury to Gerald McCoy.

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7:22 p.m. - Anthony Brown returned to the field after three weeks. He returned to the end zone after about eight years.

The cornerback missed three straight games with a rib injury before playing on Sunday against the Giants. And in the second quarter, Brown scooped up a fumble for his first NFL touchdown. It was also the first touchdown since his high school days.

"That was the perfect bounce. I was blitzing the whole way," Brown said. "D-Law just had a good strip sack and then had a good bounce to me and then I just had to finish the job really." That was my first touchdown in the league. Well I had one two years ago but it got called back."

7:11 p.m. - While he's certainly played plenty of snaps already, Biadasz made his first start of his career in place of Joe Looney. The rookie from Wisconsin said the full week of reps made a difference and he felt even more prepared.

And for the first time in three weeks, the entire O-line stayed intact for the game as both tackles Terence Steele and Brandon Knight were able to stay in the game, as well as the interior linemen.

Biadasz took the blame on the fumble with Andy Dalton. "I was a little early, it was on me. You've got to lock into who's in the game…I'm gonna get better at it and we're going to take a lot more reps this week at it and fix it."

6:33 p.m. - Cedrick Wilson has proven that he is a worthy receiver on this team filled with playmakers. But he also showed off his arm, tossing a touchdown pass to Dak Prescott just before halftime.

Wilson, who had four catches for 22 yards, became the first non-quarterback throw a TD pass for the Cowboys since 2016 when Dez Bryant connected with Jason Witten for a score against Detroit.

Wilson said he's "always throwing" in practice and the coaches were aware that he once threw a TD at Boise State and played quarterback in high school.

5:45 p.m. – Quarterback Dak Prescott left the AT&T Stadium field on a medical cart after suffering a serious right ankle injury in the third quarter against the Giants.

Prescott landed awkwardly after getting tackled on a 9-yard run into the Giants' red zone. He has been taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. The exact injury and severity is not yet known.

After being attended to by team medical and athletic training staff, Prescott hopped onto the cart and was consoled by teammates and coaches. Visibly emotional, he acknowledged the large ovation from the home crowd.

Backup Andy Dalton replaced Prescott at quarterback. Three plays after Prescott's injury, running back Ezekiel Elliott charged into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to give Dallas a 31-23 lead.

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2:03 p.m. – The Cowboys released their five inactive players for Week 5 with little in the way of surprises.

Ninety minutes prior to kickoff, the team announced that Ben DiNucci, Malik Turner, Saivion Smith, Reggie Robinson and Rashad Smith would all sit out of Sunday's game against the New York Giants.

It's a pretty straightforward list. With so many injuries along the offensive line, the Cowboys elevated all of their available offensive linemen to active status. Anthony Brown will also play Sunday after returning from injured reserve, which lessens the needs for more defensive backs.

After sitting out the last two weeks, rookie defensive tackle Neville Gallimore will be active on Sunday.

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2:02 p.m. -- Cowboys captains for their Week 5 matchup against the Giants:

WR Amari Cooper (offense)
DL Tyrone Crawford (defense)
S Darian Thompson (special teams)

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12:05 p.m. - Veteran defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who has coached the first four games this season from the coaching booth, is expected to move down to the sideline for Sunday's game with the Giants.

The Cowboys are allowing 36.5 points per game, which is last in the NFL. And in the last three weeks, the defense has given up 39, 38 and 49 points, forcing the team to make any kind of changes possible to turn the tide.

Nolan has coached for over 25 years with nine different teams, including Sunday's opponent. His first defensive coordinator position was with the Giants in 1993.

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Oct. 10 Updates

11:44 a.m. - Making roster moves on Saturday afternoon has been the norm this season and the Cowboys had a few more this week including Anthony Brown being moved from IR to the active roster. The cornerback has missed three games with a rib injury but is expected to return to the lineup for a defense that has allowed 42 points per game the last three weeks.

Along with Brown, the Cowboys signed linebacker Francis Bernard from the practice squad to the roster.

The Cowboys also elevated center Marcus Henry and defensive back Stephen Parker from the practice squad this week. Those two will revert back to the practice squad following the game.

The Cowboys entered the day with 51 players on the roster, before placing both Joe Looney and Tyron Smith on injured reserve. While Smith needs neck surgery and will miss the entire season, Looney (sprained MCL) could return after three weeks.

By adding Bernard and Brown, and elevating Parker and Henry, the Cowboys enter Sunday's game with the Giants with 53 on the roster.

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Oct. 9 Updates

4:41 p.m. - Before the season started, Amari Cooper said he was hoping the addition of CeeDee Lamb would result in having three 1,000-yard receivers, along with Michael Gallup and himself.

So far, through four games, all three are on pace to surpass 1,000 yards, including Cooper, who would top 1,600 yards if he keeps up this pace of 100.1 yards per game.

When asked Friday if teams are playing them any different because of the success, Cooper said he he's not seeing it. He also added the offensive success hasn't translated to many wins, which has to change.

"I don't know. I haven't seen them try to take one guy away and what not from the couple of games that we've played," Cooper said. "I would just say that defenses come in and play all the weapons that we have so they don't just key on one guy. But, yeah, Dak has done a great job of finding his weapons and stuff like that. Obviously none of it has resulted in a win. So, obviously, it's what we got to do on offense to try to get those wins."

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3:10 p.m. – For now, Leighton Vander Esch remains on the Reserve/Injured list coming off his September collarbone surgery, but the third-year linebacker has started the 21-day practice window for IR players who are pointing toward a return to the active roster.

Thursday, head coach Mike McCarthy anticipated that Vander Esch would do a little more in the padded practice and see how things went.

"I liked the way he practiced yesterday, so it was good to have him out there," McCarthy said Friday morning. "Frankly, I haven't spoken to him yet just to see how he came out of the practice. We don't have pads on tomorrow; it's more of a helmets practice.

"But the thought is to maybe crank it up more next week, especially with the extra day of preparation going into the Monday night game (Oct. 19 vs. Arizona). We'll see how far along we are."

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3:09 p.m. -- As expected, center Joe Looney has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Giants with a sprained knee that might sideline him for a couple weeks or so.

Left tackle Tyron Smith has been ruled out for Week 5 too, of course, after head coach Mike McCarthy announced Friday morning that Smith will undergo season-ending neck surgery next week.

Cornerback Trevon Diggs (shoulder/knee) and defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence (knee), Tyrone Crawford (ankle) and Dorance Armstrong (knee) should be ready for Sunday. Their game status is not in question, according to Friday's injury report.

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Giants.

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11:22 a.m. - Rookie tackle Terence Steele has started all four games this season at right tackle, and although he was benched last week in the middle of the game, he is still a candidate to start again on the right side Sunday vs. New York.

With Tyron Smith out for the rest of the season, it's expected that Brandon Knight would slide over to the left side. That opens the door again for Steele, who rotated on the right side this week with newly-acquired tackles Greg Senat and Jordan Mills.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said he's seen improvement in Steele this week.

"He's had a better week of practice," McCarthy said in his Friday press conference. "Last week, he had some challenges and then obviously the way the game went Sunday, so, I like the way he's bounced back. He's a hard worker, very consistent. I really like his personality. He's the same individual, same player, same guy every single day. So, I would definitely categorize him as having a better practice week so far this week than last week."

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Oct. 8 Updates

2:43 p.m. – A month into the season, the Cowboys' offensive line continues to battle through injury after injury.

Starting right tackle La'el Collins is on injured reserve with a hip issue. Starting center Joe Looney has a sprained knee. And now starting left tackle Tyron Smith is not practicing again this week with a neck injury that has already sidelined him two games.

But quarterback Dak Prescott says he has confidence in the line's depth. Rookies Terence Steele and Tyler Biadasz and second-year lineman Brandon Knight have all played extensive snaps due to the issues mentioned above, and the Cowboys have the highest-ranked offense despite the constant shuffling.

"These are professional athletes and these are NFL offensive linemen we're talking about," Prescott said Thursday, "so I've got confidence that they can do the job, or they simply wouldn't be out there and they wouldn't be on this team being asked to do that.

"Obviously you can't replace some of the guys we have on this team and some of our original starters, but I have a lot of confidence that the coaches and the people in the front office make the right decisions putting these people here. Not only that, I see the way these young guys come in and practice and prepare. For me, it's about instilling confidence and allowing them to know that I trust them, I believe in them and I'll go to war with them."

Despite their 1-3 record, the Cowboys are averaging the third-most points per game at 31.5.

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2:41 p.m. -- The Cowboys' injury report Thursday has two changes from Wednesday: defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford (ankle) and Dorance Armstrong (knee) were able to return to practice on a limited basis.

Click here for the full injury report for the Week 5 matchup between the Cowboys and Giants.

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Oct. 7 Updates

2:47 p.m. – Four Cowboys players did not practice Wednesday: left tackle Tyron Smith (neck), defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford (ankle), defensive end Dorance Armstrong (knee) and center Joe Looney (knee).

Looney is expected to miss a little time with a sprained knee. Smith played all 82 snaps against the Browns in his return from a neck injury, so the Cowboys could be trying to manage his workload again this week leading up to the Giants game Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (shoulder/knee) are on the injury report again this week but had a full practice.

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Oct. 6 Updates

1:47 p.m. – The Cowboys continued to make roster tweaks Tuesday, releasing backup defensive back Brandon Carr and offensive tackle Alex Light.

The club also signed offensive tackle Greg Senat to the active roster off the Browns' practice squad and added offensive tackle William Sweet to the practice squad.

Carr, a 12-year veteran, was signed to the practice squad after final cuts and later signed to the active roster, but he only played 21 snaps in the first four games despite the Cowboys' injuries in the secondary.

The club is currently at 51 players on the 53-man roster but could be hoping to get injured cornerback Anthony Brown (ribs) back soon. Brown was placed on Reserve/Injured on Sept. 19, the day before the Week 2 game against Atlanta. Players must spend a minimum of three weeks on IR before being eligible to return.

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Oct. 5 Updates

6:31 p.m. – Darian Thompson made his fourth straight start at strong safety Sunday, but Donovan Wilson replaced him in the lineup after the Browns' opening 37-yard touchdown pass from Jarvis Landry to Odell Beckham Jr.

Wilson, a sixth-round draft pick last year, played 70 snaps and finished the game alongside free safety Xavier Woods.

"We had that big play that D.T. was beat on back to the post corner, on the reverse pass. We just felt like, I think it hit D.T. from a range category, so we gave Dono a chance," defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "Dono has been practicing well and he's been getting a lot of time in practice but not much time during the game, so we felt it was an opportunity to spell D.T. We really weren't planning on having it be the rest of the ballgame, but as time went along we thought Dono was doing a decent job, so we decided to keep him in there and he ended up finishing the game."

Nolan didn't speculate whether Wilson would stay in the starting lineup this Sunday against the Giants.

"That's something we still need to discuss," Nolan said. "But I haven't lost any faith in DT. I think he's a good player, he's a guy that's on board, he works extremely hard, smart guy. We're still good with him."

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12:52 p.m. – The criticism over Sunday's 49-38 home loss to Cleveland and 1-3 record is rampant Monday. Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones understands it.

That said, the organization is still confident things can get turned around in the second quarter of the season.

"We deserve all the criticism we're getting," Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Monday. "But we believe we have a really good football team. We're convicted in this team. We believe we have really good football players, and I believe we've got a really good staff, too."

Jones agreed with head coach Mike McCarthy's post-game comments that the team isn't playing a winning formula with a league-worst minus-7 turnover ratio after four games. Two offensive turnovers Sunday led to 14 Browns points, making a rough day for the defense worse.

"I just think all the way around, when you're playing the type of football we're playing right, there's no need to point a finger at any one thing. We've all got to be better," Jones said.

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Oct. 4 Updates

5:51 p.m. - Last week in Seattle, Ezekiel Elliott had some critical drops in the passing game. This week, it was another fumble in the open field when the Cowboys were down by a touchdown before halftime. It's actually the second lost fumble of the season for Elliott.

"Its terrible to turn over the ball. We've been turning it over too much. Me, myself specifically,
Zeke said. "Just have more focus and hold on to it. But I mean, anytime you give the ball up … is never good."

Elliott finished with just 54 rushing yards but had eight catches for 71 yards.

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5:32 p.m. - While Hill was visibly dejected following Sunday's loss to the Browns, who racked up 307 rushing yards, it was his first media session since being fined by the NFL for two hits last week, including a tackle on Seattle running back Chris Carson, who suffered a sprained knee.

"I have never had any intention to hurt him. If I could go back, I wish I could [have] made a totally different tackle, a totally different play," Hill said. "I was just focused on this week. I talked to my coaches about it and we figured we had it handled, and I was just looking forward to this game today."

Hill was credited for three tackles, including one for loss.

"Hats off to them. They came in and played a good game," Hill said of the Browns. "We're going to get back in the film room, get back in the lab and get back to work. That's all you can do."

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5:26 p.m. - The second-year safety entered the game in the first quarter after the Cowboys decide to pull starter Darian Thompson, who gave up a long touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr.

Wilson didn't exactly cause a turnaround, but at least shored up some of the deep-ball passing. However, Cleveland was able to rack up most of its yards on the ground, rushing for over 300.

Wilson, a sixth-round pick from Texas A&M last year, finished the game with 10 tackles, a sack and one tackle for loss.

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5:11 p.m. - While most of his yardage occurred in the second half as the Cowboys were desperately trying to get back in the game, Cooper became just the fourth wide receiver, and seventh player overall in franchise history to have 12 receptions in a game.

Cooper finished the game with 12 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. That ties his career high of 12 receptions he set in 2016 with the Raiders. The dozen catches is the most since he joined the Cowboys, surpassing the 11 receptions he had last season in a loss to the Packers.

In the five games in which Cooper has had at least 10 catches with the Cowboys, they are just 1-4.

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10:34 a.m. – Starting left tackle Tyron Smith is officially active against Cleveland after missing the previous two games with a neck injury.

Smith was listed as questionable on Friday, but the Cowboys felt optimistic about his return. He went through an early warmup in pre-game here at AT&T Stadium.

Inactives for the Cowboys today are quarterback Ben DiNucci, safety Reggie Robinson, linebacker Rashad Smith, offensive tackle Alex Light and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore.

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Oct. 3 Updates

3:21 p.m. - Defensive tackle Trysten Hill has been fined over $13,000 by the NFL for two separate plays in last week's game in Seattle.

Hill got fined $6,522 for his tackle on Seattle running back Chris Carson in last week's game. Hill used a "gator roll" tackle on Carson, who ended up leaving the game with a sprained knee that will keep him out this week. 
While the Seahawks players and coaches have openly expressed their frustration with Hill on the play, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy adamantly claimed there was "no intent" by Hill to hurt Carson.

Hill was not flagged for that tackle, but was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Russell Wilson later in the game. That play also netted a $6,522 fine for Hill, who has been starting in the middle for the Cowboys at defensive tackle this season.

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12:58 p.m. – The Cowboys elevated rookie linebacker Francis Bernard to the active roster ahead of Sunday's home game against Cleveland.

Teams can elevate up to two practice squad players each week the day before the game with the players moving back to the practice squad the day after the game. This is Bernard's first call-up of the season. The undrafted rookie out of Utah had a solid training camp and was signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers.

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Oct. 2 Updates

4:08 p.m. -- Left tackle Tyron Smith (neck) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (shoulder/knee) are officially listed as questionable for Sunday's home game against Cleveland. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, but his game status is not in question, per the official injury report.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones sounded optimistic that all three players will be available Sunday.

"We all know that we do have several days here before kickoff and it's subject to that," Jones said. "But it's certainly looking like we're going to have them available. It can be a game-time decision. But it is looking that way."

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Injuries limited WR Cedrick Wilson's time on the field his first two years, but he capitalized on his chances against Seattle with a career-high two touchdown catches.

The Cowboys have a deep wide receiver group led by Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb. But the coaching staff has shown faith in Wilson and Noah Brown as part of the in-game rotation.

"I think just being in the same system for these three years," said Wilson, a sixth-round pick out of Boise State in 2018. "Just learning it when I got here and now getting a chance to learn all the fine details and why we do certain things, which is allowing me to play a lot faster and giving me the comfortability to see what (quarterback) Dak (Prescott) sees and being in tune with him.

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Oct. 1 Updates

4:00 p.m. – Trevon Diggs spent most of last week on the injury report but still managed to play in Seattle. The Cowboys are hoping that will be the case again for the rookie cornerback, who was limited in Thursday's practice with both a shoulder and knee issue.

Diggs, who has started the last three games, has had his expected share of ups and downs while trying to figure out how to play on the next level. He'll have his hands full this week with a Cleveland offense that features Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. However, both of those receivers are among 15 Cleveland players on the injury report.

Here's a link to the Cowboys-Browns injury report.

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11:19 a.m. – Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) is expected to focus on rehab work again during Thursday's practice, but head coach Mike McCarthy didn't sound concerned about Lawrence's availability Sunday against Cleveland.

"He'll take very little (reps) if any today," McCarthy said. "But I don't think he's in jeopardy. I anticipate him to kind of go through the week like he did last week. So we'll see what today brings."

Lawrence did not practice Wednesday. The Cowboys managed Lawrence's work last week and he started against Seattle in Week 3, though only for 31 defensive snaps.

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Sept. 30 Updates

3:06 p.m. – Tyron Smith made progress in his recovery from a neck injury by doing some individual work Wednesday, but officially he did not participate in practice.

It's now been two weeks since the Pro Bowl left tackle practiced, but the Cowboys are optimistic he's getting closer to a return.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (knee) did not practice Wednesday, and cornerback Trevon Diggs (shoulder/knee) was a full participant.

Click here for the full injury report for Cowboys-Browns.

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12:14 p.m. - After missing two straight games with a neck injury, Tyron Smith appears to have a better shot at playing this week against the Browns.

On Wednesday, head coach Mike McCarthy said Smith would work back into practice, starting today with individual drills. The hope is to get him some reps in the team period by Thursday.

Smith, a seven-time Pro Bowler, worked out before the Seattle game last Sunday but was ruled inactive.

The Cowboys played Brandon Knight on the left side in place of Smith. Knight is a candidate, along with rookie Terrence Steele, to start on the right side if Smith returns.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was not practicing during the open portion Wednesday. Listed as questionable to play in Week 3 due to a knee injury, Lawrence started against Seattle but played just 31 snaps.

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