By Shawn Lealos

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass in front of Michael Huff #29 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 5, 2013 in Denver Colorado. A challenge flag would be thrown on the play. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Credit, Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys used this bye week opportunity to work out 16 players as they desperately try to patch up a football team that has been ravaged by injuries and weak play. The biggest name was safety Michael Huff and there were rumors that they might be interested in safety Ed Reed, who the Houston Texans released today.

Just last season, Reed won a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. Reed’s release came just two days after he made comments about the Texans being outplayed and outcoached in their loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Reed also said that he is not the same player that he was when he was the best safety in football.

While Dallas needs help on defense in the worst way, taking a chance on a veteran player on the downslide of his career might not be the best move. Dallas did work out Michael Huff, a younger safety than Reed who was released by the Ravens earlier in the season. Sources also indicate that the Cowboys will not sign Huff either, and they might be looking at younger talent overall.

This is tough since the Cowboys have given up more passing yards than any team in the NFL in 2013 and are close to ranking as the worst defense in NFL history when it comes to yards given up. They started Barry Church and undrafted Jeff Heath in Sunday night’s blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. Rookie J.J. Wilcox started the season alongside Church, but has been out with a knee injury.

He is not the only injured player on the Cowboys ravaged defense. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne, linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant, and defensive lineman Jason Hatcher are all out with injuries. George Selvie, Nick Hayden and DeMarcus Ware, the other three defensive line starters, are also banged up and playing injured. Only Bruce Carter, Brandon Carr and Barry Church are healthy in the Dallas starting defensive unit.

Dallas worked out defensive backs Jordan Push, Nick Saenz, George Baker, T.J. Heath and Brandon Hughes and defensive linemen Logan Harrell, Corey Irvin, Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Torell Troup. There is hope a diamond appears in the rough of midseason signings.

Also worked out were offensive linemen Chris DeGeare, Brandon Keith, Ryan Miller, Eric Olsen, Wayne Tribue and John Wetzel. After losing new offensive line signee Brian Waters, they placed Mackenzy Bernadeau back in the young lineup that includes two young stars in Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, as well as Ronald Leary and Doug Free. While these blockers work well on running plays, Dallas is desperately looking for someone who can help protect Tony Romo.

The Dallas Cowboys bye week couldn’t have come soon enough, since Dallas was the first team to play in the preseason and has suffered through more injuries than any team could be expected to survive. The fact they are still first in the NFC East means it is not too late to patch things up. These workouts might be the start of that.

For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.

Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE