The National Football League is a brutal and unforgiving environment. Only the best of the best get a chance to compete at this level. The fans get to see some of the most spectacular athletic feats on a weekly basis. At the same time they witness some of the most bone-crushing hits you could possibly imagine. This isn’t a game for the weak.
Because of the sheer amount of impact NFL players endure there is bound to be injuries. It’s to be expected. The good teams survive the inevitable nicks and bruises, while the injuries seem to cripple other squads. So which one is the Dallas Cowboys? We’re about to find out this week when the Cowboys travel to Charlotte to meet the Caroline Panthers.
According to Todd Archer from ESPN Dallas this team is not built to compete through the dreaded injury bug.
“This roster has been top-heavy for too long, but that is why you hear so many people talk about “how talented” the roster is. They never dig beyond the top 10 players. At the top, it is talented. In the middle and bottom, it’s soft.”
He speaks the truth. How many times have we seen it where Dallas starts to roll or get on track and an injury to a key player starts the team on a downward spiral? I think everyone out there can think of at least one situation where this statement holds true.
We may very well be witnessing one of these situations with the foot injury DeMarco Murray sustained last week at Baltimore. On a positive note, the Carolina Panthers have a very porous run defense and whether people like to admit it or not, Dallas has a talented running back in Felix Jones waiting to get back on track.
Most look at Jones’ injury history and his lack of production at times as an excuse to call for his head. Let’s not forget Jones has all the ability in the world and has shown flashes at times. Times like these should show everyone why owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t trade away Felix for a late-round pick that probably wouldn’t make the team.
Unfortunately the Cowboys are not as fortunate at other positions. Starting center Phil Costa, and his back up, Ryan Cook are both suffering from different ailments that will most likely keep them out of Sunday’s game. The remaining options are David Arkin, who seems to get pushed to the side on a regular basis, and Kevin Kowalski, who is waiting to be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Anthony Spencer is still listed as questionable as he tries to come back from a pectoral injury. Waiting behind him are Victor Butler and Kyle Wilber. Butler has made an impact when he’s been able to get on the field, but that doesn’t seem to happen on a regular basis. Is he up to playing full-time for an extended period of time, or is he better suited for a situational role? The same question can be asked to a degree about Wilber. Being a rookie, is he ready to be thrown into the fire for some extended playing time?
The scariest thing about all of this injury business is the fact that if anyone else goes down there really isn’t much behind them that most would consider as a competent replacement. If Dallas can survive this latest barrage of injuries they have a much better chance of getting back on track and recover from an abysmal 2-4 start to the season. If not, 2012 looks to be a long and drawn out disappointment.