The Dallas Cowboys 2020 season has been scarred by injuries, and it culminated in Week 5 when franchise quarterback Dak Prescott was lost for the season. While a number of other key contributors have been placed on the injured reserve for the remainder of the year, Dallas current active roster is as healthy as it can be entering Monday’s showdown with the Arizona Cardinals.
All Cowboys were able to practice in full on Saturday, including linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who is still technically on the short-term IR but is slated to return in time for Monday night. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are experiencing their own OL issues.
Saturday’s injury report for Cardinals-Cowboys on Monday night. pic.twitter.com/grFRVoejA4
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) October 17, 2020
Vander Esch had missed the previous four weeks after suffering a broken collarbone in Dallas’ Week 1 loss to the Rams, but Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy had some promising things to say about the third-year linebacker, according ESPN’s Todd Archer.
“I’m definitely encouraged.” the McCarthy said, regarding Vander Esch’s progress towards being able to play. McCarthy would go on to add, “Everything points forward… All the arrows are pointing up.”
Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reported Vander Esch is expected to be “eased back into action,” and will likely see more snaps in passing situations than base personnel.
Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch is slated to return Monday vs. Cardinals. His first action since fracturing collarbone on Sept. 13 in first quarter of first game. LVE likely to be eased into action, source said. Could work mostly in passing situations, non-base personnel.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 17, 2020
Vander Esch is arguably Dallas’ best defender, and his ability to remain on the field will be imperative if the Cowboys league-worst defense has any hopes of turning things around this season.
A handful of other important Dallas defenders were full participants in practice, including DeMarcus Lawrence (knee), Trevon Diggs (knee), Tyrone Crawford (ankle), Dorance Armstrong (knee), and Everson Griffen, who missed Wednesday’s practice for something non-injury related.
Tight end Blake Bell (knee) was the lone offensive player listed on the Cowboys’ injury report, but he was a full practice participant as well.
The Cowboys opponents, the Cardinals, are set to be without a few key players.
Starting guard J.R. Sweezy has been ruled out, along with DL Rashard Lawrence and LB Kylie Fitts. Devon Kennard, one of Arizona’s top pass-rushers, is a game time decision but head coach Kliff Kingsbury is hopeful Kennard can suit up. Safety Jalen Thompson is currently on the IR but is another game time decision.
Cardinals’ starting left tackle D.J. Humphries was a late addition to the injury report on Saturday with a back injury, and he is considered questionable for Monday.
Kliff Kingsbury said J.R. Sweezy will miss Monday's game so Justin Murray will start at RG. LB Kylie Fitts, DL Rashard Lawrence also out.
Kingsbury is hopeful LB Devon Kennard will play. S Jalen Thompson, still on IR, will test ankle pregame. Still a chance he could play.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) October 17, 2020
Cardinals starting left tackle D.J. Humphries hadn't appeared on the injury report all week, but he showed up on it Saturday with a back injury and is listed as questionable for Monday night's game at the Cowboys. The primary backup at left tackle is rookie Josh Jones.
— Bob McManaman (@azbobbymac) October 17, 2020
For more discussion on Vander Esch’s importance to the Dallas defense, a Cardinals preview, and everything else Cowboys, check out the latest mini- edition of the Catch This Fade podcast with our own K.D. Drummond and CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker.
Like this article?
Sign up for the Cowboys Wire email newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox every morning
An error has occured
Please re-enter your email address.
Thanks for signing up!
You'll now receive the top Cowboys Wire stories each day directly in your inbox.