Cowboys inactives list for Buccaneers showdown includes a big surprise
By Jerry Trotta
Exactly one year from last year’s playoff loss, the Dallas Cowboys will look to exact revenge against a familiar foe in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A rematch against the 49ers awaits the winner — when legitimate revenge will be at stake — but we’ll cross that bridge if and when the time comes.
Much has been made about how the Cowboys’ depleted cornerback room will cope defending Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones.
Having lost starters Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis to season-ending injuries, Dallas has turned to rookie DaRon Bland and second-year players Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph to fill the void.
While Bland has cemented himself as a starter and Wright has impressed in an increased role, Joseph hasn’t sniffed a snap at CB amid a mistake-prone campaign. That led everyone to believe Xavier Rhodes, signed to the practice squad two weeks ago, would see his fair share of snaps against the Bucs.
That (still) looks to be the case. The kicker, though, is that it will come at Wright’s expense, as Wright is a surprise inactive for Monday night.
Cowboys inactives vs Buccaneers: Nahshon Wright a surprise scratch, Xavier Rhodes in line to start.
Rhodes playing is no surprise given his experience and track record in the league. Look for the veteran to start with Trevon Diggs and Bland.
Wright not even getting a helmet for the game, however, is a huge shock considering he was outstanding against the Eagles on Christmas Eve and logged his first career interception against the Titans the following week. He even played a big special teams role early in the season, so it’s not like Joseph, who’s been flagged multiple times as a ST gunner, should have the edge in that regard, either.
Just have to trust the coaching staff.
Though the Wright news caused a pregame stir on Twitter, the fact Neville Gallimore and Quinton Bohanna are both inactive is the right call.
Their respective absences will allow more playing time for Carlos Watkins and Chauncey Golston. Both defensive linemen played their best football down the stretch of the regular season, and should play a huge part — along with Johnathan Hankins — in stopping Tampa Bay’s rushing attack.
Elsewhere, Jabril Cox is back on the inactives list. Not a surprise given Leighton Vander Esch is back from his shoulder stringer.
As for the Buccaneers, Nick Leverett, who started 10 games at left guard this year, is down. However, Tampa will get a boost with center Ryan Jensen returning after he missed the entire regular season with a knee injury.
Just win, baby.