Cowboys suffer another blow as DeMarcus Lawrence injury adds to pass-rush woes

Where will the Dallas Cowboys generate pressure from on Sunday when they face one of the best young passers in the NFL? Not from Randy Gregory, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and not expected to play Sunday. And perhaps not from DeMarcus Lawrence, who suffered a foot injury during practice Wednesday. According to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys promptly canceled his media availability afterward.

DeMarcus Lawrence may be out vs. Chargers with foot injury

With just four days before Dallas faces off against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, Cowboys medical staffers spent Wednesday afternoon hustling to determine the severity of the injury. But there’s a real worry that Lawrence will be unavailable for the Cowboys’ critical game.

Dallas is already 0-1, and even before the news, Vegas had already expected the Cowboys to go to 0-2 Sunday afternoon.

The line was LAC -3 earlier in the day, and if Lawrence can’t go, the Cowboys’ chances only worsen.

Lawrence, 29, is a two-time Pro Bowler with 45.5 career sacks. But he hasn’t had 7+ in a season since 2018. He underwent offseason back surgery that held him out of the start of training camp. Nevertheless, he was available for the Cowboys’ season opener.

Lawrence forced a fumble but did not have a sack or even a quarterback hit in Dallas’ Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers. In fact, the Cowboys barely laid a hand on Tom Brady. Making matters worse, that anemic pass rush was at relatively full strength. The Cowboys won’t be near that against the Chargers.

Without Lawrence, the Cowboys are thin at pass rusher

Gregory tested positive for COVID-19 this week, and the Cowboys aren’t counting on him to be available Sunday.

“If you look at the history, it’s been 10 days, pretty much, (with) everybody we’ve dealt with in the COVID protocol. We’ll just see how it goes,” head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier Wednesday.

Before the Lawrence news, the Cowboys at least had a manageable situation at defensive end. Dorance Armstrong was in line to take most of Gregory’s reps, and despite just 3 tackles for loss during a young career spent mostly on special teams, he’s at least a known quantity for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

However, if Lawrence can’t go, it’ll be Armstrong and (presumably) Tarell Basham off the edges. Basham produced 86 tackles and 7.5 sacks in a career spent with the Colts, Jets, and Cowboys. Bradlee Anae, a fifth-round pick out of Utah in the 2020 NFL Draft, will also be in the mix.

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