Defensive starter injuries add to Cowboys woes

Defensive starter injuries add to Cowboys woes

Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Linebacker Bruce Carter #54 of the Dallas Cowboys



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Posted on November 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 27 at 1:21 PM

IRVING - After the latest loss, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones - the most optimistic man on the planet when it comes to the Cowboys - now doubts they can finish 8-8.

And with another season-ending injury for a defensive starter, self doubt would be an understandable emotion. But, outwardly at least, the head coach and his players refuse to give in.

"I think about football the way life goes," said linebacker Anthony Spencer. "Things never work out the way you want them to work out, but you're going to have to keep going regardless of what's happening, and that's the way this team is."

When faced with the notion of doubt creeping into the Cowboys' locker room, Garrett repeats his process-driven mantra, "What you have to focus on is us getting better and then the task at hand, which is Philadelphia this week."

Linebacker Bruce Carter's dislocated elbow against the Redskins makes a total of four defensive starters lost for the season. And, on the heels of giving up 28 points in one quarter to Robert Griffin III and company, Cowboy defenders face a serious test of will.

Defensive lineman Josh Brent makes it personal.

"At the end of the day, it's still your name on the back of the jersey," he said. "So, it's up to you as an individual how you want to be seen in the media and by other people."

Another issue with the defensive injuries this year in the NFL is the replacement options are not good. The Cowboys are literally signing guys off the couch, but linebacker Brady Popinga said he's ready, nonetheless.

"So, I was in what you call 'Batman shape,'" he said. "Meaning, when I get the call, boom, I'm gone and I got the mask on and here I am."

As dire as this season seems, it would be great if the newly-signed former Packer and Ram could bring some superhero-like skills, but the Cowboys would settle for a few tackles and sacks.

The situation is more primal for Popinga, though. He just wants to hit someone, anyone.

"Oh my gosh, you kidding me?" he said. "You wouldn't believe how many times I've wanted to run through the door and blast something, but you know you got to have patience."

Yeah, Cowboy nation certainly knows that. They've been waiting a decade-and-a-half-plus on a return to glory.