I’m not saying it’s time to write Jay off and throw Ratliff to the wolves. I’m not suggesting Nick Hayden may not play some very decent football. My point is the DL was a trusted strength a few months ago.
In the 4-3 defense you are only as good as your front 4. Now Dallas has been stripped of that key luxury for a full 6 games, over 1/3 of the season.
By losing even one extra game due to a leaky middle line, Dallas may never recover the deficit in the intense NFC East playoff race.
The Cowboys do not have the luxury of waiting around and hoping these obscure back-ups can tread the flooding water. There must be a solid, proven DT starter acquired, one way or another.
Hayden would still get valuable snaps in the rotation. If Ratliff does return for the 7th game, even better. They’d have 2 very strong starters as before camp, and a compliment of capable, game-tested subs.
Letting this new dilemma go untouched will be devastating to the final standings. Searching for proven help when Crawford exited the season was a feasible idea. Now after both he and Ratliff are gone, it’s running game suicide to avoid this correction a week further.
Dallas cannot afford to take such a promising season and jeopardize it all (and a boatload of talent) by crossing fingers and hoping to make due. One would think that lesson was learned through the costly patchwork o-line the last 2 years.
Hope without a legitimate solution is simply a loser’s game when expecting to play winning football. In case they have forgotten in Dallas, it takes eclipsing 8-8 to play winning football. And in this case, it requires making a real move besides sitting by and hoping for the best.