Disturbing news coming out of Valley Ranch this morning. Veteran guard Brian Waters has apparently been lost for the season due to a triceps injury he suffered in last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. He also suffered knee and rib injuries during that game, causing one Dallas reporter to call Waters a one-man injury report.
The six-time Pro Bowler joined the Cowboys in Week Three of this season after spending 19 months out of football. The 36 year-old signed a one-year deal with Dallas to the tune of $3 million to essentially come out of retirement and help this ailing offensive line. This latest injury could in fact be career-ending for Waters.
With the veteran guard anchoring the line, the Cowboys now sit atop the NFC East. His addition was considered the key in turning this struggling offensive line around and getting them to play the best they have in years.
With this latest news, guard Mackenzy Bernadeau will now return to the starting lineup. Starting at guard every game last season for Dallas, Bernadeau’s poor play allowed seven sacks and 24 quarterback hurries. He will join tackles Tyrone Smith and Doug Free, guard Ron Leary and rookie center Travis Frederick on one of the youngest offensive lines in the NFL.
The Cowboys also have guards Ray Dominguez and David Arkin on their practice squad. I would expect one or both of them to get called up before Dallas faces the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Dallas currently sits at 4-4 in the standings. Prior to the loss of Waters, the Cowboys were struggling in the running game. But their protection of quarterback Tony Romo was much improved. Pro Football Focus tweeted the following today:
“Brian Waters a significant loss in pass (protection). Just 7 QB disruptions allowed on 205 pass blocking snaps. Bernadeau at 8 already on 114 snaps.”
The loss of Waters sets this maligned offense even further into the weeds. And with all three NFC East teams just two games back or less, Dallas faces an uphill battle for the playoffs as they have the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears still on the schedule.
With the NFL trade deadline just hours away, Dallas could also pursue some offensive line help via a trade. But with so little time left, it would be difficult to get a deal done.