Week 5 of the 2015 NFL season was already the hardest game of the season for the Cowboys, as they faced the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. However, Dallas beat the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 while they were defending their Super Bowl title, so there is hope they can do it again this year. That hope was dashed when both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant went down to injury in the first two games of the season. This week, most of the news comes from returns to the defensive side of the ball and even more injuries. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys team headlines for this week.
Greg Hardy And Rolando McClain Return From Suspension
Over the first three games of the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys were 2-1, but they still hadn’t found their pass rush. Finally, in their loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, they started reaching the quarterback. It might have come just in time because this week, against the New England Patriots, they see their biggest free agent pickup return to the field in Greg Hardy, someone they signed to improve the quarterback rush. Hardy has said all the right things to the press this week and seems ready to help the Cowboys defense improve. “I hope I come out guns blazin’,” Hardy said. “I’m full of excitement and full of juice. I have what they call fresh legs.” Also returning from suspension this week is Rolando McClain, who might need to help fill in the gap left by Sean Lee, who suffered a concussion on Sunday night.
Dallas Cowboys And DeMarco Murray Missing Each Other
On Sunday, after rushing for 36 yards on eight carries in the Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Washington Redskins, DeMarco Murray said he wasn’t getting enough carries to really make a difference in the game. It was an honest assessment, and Murray went on to say that he loved the Eagles offense. “Do I think I’m touching the ball [enough]?” Murray said. “No, I’m not. I don’t think I am. But it’s the plays that are being called. I love this offense. I love playing with these guys. It’s just how it is.” While he is right, there is another problem. The Eagles run a zone-read offense, and Murray is a straight-ahead power runner. Meanwhile, over in Dallas, the Cowboys need a straight ahead-power runner. Both of their running backs, Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden, are edge runners, which is a completely waste to the Cowboys’ great offensive line. In 2015, Murray has 47 total rushing yards while, in Dallas, both Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden are averaging under four yards a carry. This deflates the argument that anyone could run behind the Cowboys offensive line.
Jerry Jones Estimates Dez Bryant’s Return
Tony Romo will not be allowed to return to the field until Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins, he was placed on the Injured Reserve list that allows a return later in the season. In case the Dolphins are still free falling by that time, Romo won’t be back until the Carolina Panthers game on Thanksgiving Day. However, Jerry Jones said this week that Dez Bryant might be back as early as Week 7 after foot surgery. “Dez, of course, is Superman,” Jones said. “His procedure went well. He’s sound with the procedure. Everything they did, by the way, the graft all that, it enhances his chance to get out there. I think he’s got a chance to do it after the bye.” If that is true, Dallas only has one more game without their All-Pro wide receiver.
Is it Christine Michael Time?
While Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden have not set the world on fire this season, never coming close to the numbers that DeMarco Murray was putting up last year, Lance Dunbar was the revelation in the backfield, although his stats came in the passing game. Now, Dunbar is out for the season with a torn ACL and it might be time to see what Christine Michael can do. Dallas traded the Seattle Seahawks a seventh round pick for the former second round running back and he got his first carry as a Cowboys running back against the Saints, a one yard loss. Without Dunbar, Michael should get more touches and vice president Stephen Jones said that the team will look at free agents but that “Christine Michael’s gonna be able to step up, play a role.” Its time to see if he is as good as advertised.
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. Examiner.com.