The Dallas Cowboys defense has yet to reach its peak

Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
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Dallas Cowboys
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Dallas Cowboys set to return

Injuries are a terrible but constant part of the game of football. It is encouraging that the team has not suffered as severe or as many compared to last season (knock on wood), but the team still has its fair share of lost games due to injuries.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is a crucial part of the Cowboys’ defense and proved it again last season. He entered the 2021 season healthy but got put on IR after only one game.

After breaking his foot in practice, Lawrence required surgery, making the timeline six to eight weeks to return. On October 11th, Stephen Jones was on 105.3 The Fan, giving a timeline of when we can see the dominant pass-rusher return.

"“…it’s probably going to be a month-plus before we get them back.”"

A month from that date would be in time for the Week 10 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Considering the “plus,” let’s add two more weeks, making a Week 12 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders a likely timeline for return.

In that quote, Jones was talking about DeMarcus Lawrence and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. The latter isn’t as impactful as the two-time Pro Bowler but was considered a starter for the interior defensive line.

In 14 games last season, the third-rounder racked up 28 tackles and proved to be a powerful force in the middle. He never played in one game this season after dislocating his elbow in the first week of preseason.

2021 second-round cornerback Kelvin Joseph was competing for the starting spot beside Trevon Diggs, but a groin injury in the last preseason game put him on IR. In his place, Anthony Brown stepped up to become a reliable CB2.

Joseph was activated for the Sunday Night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings but would’ve been better off playing instead of missing six games. Then there’s defensive tackle Trysten Hill, who played in only 12 of 39 games due to different injuries and no usage.

The 2019 second-round selection barely got opportunities to play. With minimal snaps as a rookie, his sophomore season was cut short despite encouraging play. He never recovered from his torn ACL in Week 5 last season. Hill is back at practice getting ready for his long-awaited return.

One of the biggest surprises last season was the emergence of safety Donovan Wilson. After starting the season as a backup, he won the starting job mid-season by making bone-crushing hits and playing tight coverage. A lingering groin injury limited him to 45 snaps since Week 1.

He played on Sunday night, which is encouraging moving forward. The hope is the injury doesn’t creep up again, and he returns to his hard-hitting self. His performance against the Minnesota Vikings suggests that is true.