The Dallas Cowboys are getting healthy at the perfect time ahead of a Wild Card matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Cowboys weekly injury report was short, and not a single player was listed as a non-participant. Here’s a look at the full report:
- C Tyler Biadasz (ankle) – full participant
- DE DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) – limited participant
- T Tyron Smith (knee) – limited participant
- LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) – full participant
Earlier this week, Mike McCarthy told the media he’s feeling optimistic regarding the Cowboys health:
“I feel great about where we are. I think any time you can stand here and know that come Monday night you’re gonna have some guys that are disappointed that they’re not on the 48. To me, that’s as healthy as you can ask to be this time of year.”
Micah Parsons hasn’t missed a game this season, but has dealt with a few nagging injuries including a groin strain and hand laceration. But Parsons said he’s feeling reinvigorated now that it’s playoff time:
“I feel like I’ve hit my second wind. I feel better now than I have the past couple weeks, just because of how anxious and excited I am.”
Defense getting a pair of key players back
In Week 14, DT Johnathan Hankins’ regular season was cut short due to a pectoral injury. Then in Week 15, Vander Esch was sidelined for the rest of the regular season with a neck injury.
Both players were instrumental in Dallas’ run stopping game. Hankins’ specialty is using his 6’3, 340-pound frame to close the rushing lanes through the interior offensive line. Vander Esch missed three games, but still recorded 90 tackles on the year, the second-most on the team.
But both players are expected to suit up on Monday night. Hankins even told the media he could’ve played in Week 18, but IR restrictions forced him to sit for at least four games.
Offensive line gains familiarity
C Tyler Biadasz suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 17 vs. the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys pass protection survived without Biadasz in Week 18, but the rushing attack wasn’t the same.
Dallas ran 27 times for just 64 yards. But with Biadasz back and expected to take the field vs. Tampa Bay, it allows for the Cowboys to regain a more familiar lineup along the offensive line.
With Biadasz at C, Connor McGovern can shift back to LG and Tyler Smith can kick out to LT.
It also gives the Cowboys more depth at RT. Tyron Smith was in that spot in Week 18, but didn’t have a great showing in the run game. Now, the Cowboys have the option to rotate a pair of future Hall Of Famers at RT with Jason Peters and Tyron.