When the Dallas Cowboys saw quarterback Tony Romo go down early in his first preseason action with a back injury, it was a “here we go again” type of thought process for the fanbase. A year removed from Romo playing in just four games and the team going 4-12 for the season, it seemed as if all was lost for yet another season, assuming that Romo had to miss extended time.
When it came out that he would, the Cowboys then had to figure out a way to get it done offensively with a rookie backfield of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, as well as a questionable (at best defense). Fortunately, they’ve done just that, and the Cowboys overcoming adversity and injuries is why they’ll be able to do it once again after two recent losses.
Via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
To follow that up, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that Claiborne, as well as safety Barry Church (broken forearm), are going to miss the next few weeks.
“He’s not going to be able to play and might be out for an extended period of time,” Garrett said.
“We’ll take that day by day,” head coach Jason Garrett said, “but don’t anticipate him practicing this week or playing this week.”
As for Claiborne’s injury, Jene Bramel of Footballguys broke down the typical timeline that you’ll find for someone dealing with a sports hernia.
Garrett also sounded off on the players who could step up and fill the void left by remaining calm and poised, pretty much as he always does.
“You certainly want to start with the guys we have here,” Garrett said of possibly adding a cornerback. “Leon McFadden is a guy we picked up last week and he’s made a good impression on us, so we’ll see how those guys do. We’ll have some discussions over the next couple of days as to what our best course is.”
Even while confidence remains high for the 6-1 Cowboys, there’s no question that filling the voids left by Church and Claiborne will be tough. Church is fresh off a season in which he totaled 117 combined tackles, and also topped 97 tackles in each of the previous three years. It’s unknown exactly how long he’ll be out, but the expectation is that he should miss a fair amount of time
As for Claiborne, he’s taken his game to an entirely new level after signing a one-year deal worth $3 million this offseason. The Cowboys chose to give the former first-round pick another opportunity to prove himself, and he’s done just that through seven games this season. He may actually be one of the most impressive players on the Cowboys defense, totaling 26 combined tackles, five passes defensed, an interception and a fumble recovery.
The Cowboys now have to go back to the drawing board and do what Garrett preaches so much, which is to have the next man step up. Dallas is losing talent on defense with this, but it’s not as if we haven’t seen this team overcome adversity to this point in 2016. They not only lost Romo originally but also lost wide receiver Dez Bryant for three games as well. It hasn’t mattered, though, as the resilient Cowboys are still trucking right along and will keep doing so.