The Dallas Cowboys got the win in Week 14, but didn’t come out unscathed as multiple players left the game with injuries.
The most notable was RT Terence Steele who went out with a knee injury in the second half. On Monday, the Cowboys confirmed Steele tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Mike McCarthy spoke highly of Steele, and admitted replacing him won’t be easy. McCarthy said:
“Terence Steele is just a rock of a man. He’s been so consistent and obviously it’s going to be a loss for us. I just can’t say enough about him as a person, his work ethic, and the way he goes about it. A true pro, very mature beyond his years.”
How will the Cowboys cover Steele’s loss?
Josh Ball relieved Steele at RT after the injury. Ball was drafted by Dallas in 2021, but made his NFL debut earlier this season.
McCarthy said he was pleased with Ball’s performance outside of two plays. One of which came late in the fourth quarter when Ball let Texans LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo hit Dak Prescott’s arm as he passed, resulting in an interception.
After that, Jason Peters took over at RT on what would be the Cowboys game-winning touchdown drive. McCarthy told the media that the plan is to rotate Ball and Peters at RT in Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Cowboys lose a valuable run stopper
A few weeks ago, Dallas struggled to stop opposing rushers. So the Cowboys made a move to acquire DT Johnathan Hankins from the Las Vegas Raiders. At 6’3, 340 pounds, Hankins’ specialty is closing running lanes in the interior offensive line.
It took a few weeks, but Hankins was starting to make an impact on the Cowboys defense. Unfortunately, Dallas will be without his services until the playoffs.
Hankins strained his pectoral vs. Houston, and will miss the rest of the regular season. Jerry Jones appeared on 105.3 The Fan and said Hankins should be ready to return in the postseason.
While it’s not a total loss considering the Hankins is slated to return, they will certainly miss his services as the Cowboys still have to face these RBs in the regular season:
- Travis Etienne: 814 rushing yards (13th-most)
- Miles Sanders: 1,068 rushing yards (5th-most)
- Derrick Henry: 1,199 rushing yards (2nd-most)
In an effort to replace Hankins, the Cowboys announced the signing of DT Anthony Rush. Like Hankins, Rush is a monster at 6’4, 261-pounds that can help Dallas stop the run.
Rush signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and has played for five teams in his career. Rush’s most recent action came with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this year. In four games, he recorded seven tackles.
Not all negative news out of Big D
Luckily, there is some positive injury news to report. Tyron Smith tore his hamstring in training camp and has yet to take the field this season.
But Jones told 105.3 The Fan he expects Smith to return to action vs. the Jaguars. It’s likely that Smith will move back to LT, and rookie Tyler Smith will shift one spot over to LG.