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With early season marred by injuries, Cowboys turn to the next man up

The Dallas Cowboys have been unlucky with injuries early in the season but the other teams aren’t going to stop to feel sorry for them as they turn to their depth.

Now that the celebration period of the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Atlanta Falcons is over, it is time to focus on the trip to Seattle where Dallas will take on the Seahawks on Sunday. 

Seattle is coming off a goal line stand in the waning seconds to pick up a 35-30 victory over New England, while Dallas needed some late game heroics themselves to come back to beat Atlanta 40-39. Seattle sits at 2-0 while Dallas comes into the game at 1-1. 

As I’m sure you are aware of by now, the Cowboys are banged up. 

That’s especially true at cornerback this week and if there was ever a week to hope to be healthy in the secondary, this is the one. There is never a good time for injuries to your CBs but it is especially scary when going up against the Seahawks and Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. 

Over the first two weeks, Wilson is playing like a man possessed. Wilson has thrown for nine touchdowns while no other QB in the league even has seven TDs yet. Wilson has thrown just 11 total incompletions. The six-time Pro Bowler is fifth in the league with 610 passing yards and his passer rating of 140.0 tops the NFL through Week 2. The Cowboys need to find a way to get him off his game and they will be doing so shorthanded.

D.K. Metcalf has been the top receiver for Seattle with eight receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Against the Patriots, Metcalf was able to beat defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore for a 54-yard touchdown. Now rookie Trevon Diggs gets the assignment. Oh by the way, he showed up on the injury report with a banged up shoulder. Not ideal. 

Diggs at least returned to practice on Thursday morning but any time missed for the second-round rookie is not good for Dallas, especially with the secondary ravaged with absences. The other starting CB Chidobe Awuzie joined Diggs on the injury report. He is dealing with a hamstring ailment and has been ruled out. Again, not ideal.

On the topic of injuries, the Cowboys appear to be snakebitten. They started out the season with La'el Collins and Sean Lee on the injured reserve list. Since then they have added linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, backup tackle Cameron Erving, wide receiver Ventrell Bryant, tight end Blake Jarwin, and cornerback Anthony Brown. 

This feels like an Oxyclean infomercial: "But wait, there's more!"

On Wednesday, Tyron Smith didn't practice yet again with a neck issue after missing Week 2. DeMarcus Lawrence has been dealing with a knee injury that he sustained in the Atlanta game but he also missed practice to be with his wife during the birth of their child. Lawrence is expected to play but he was limited in his effectiveness against the Falcons.

Wilson, Metcalf, and fellow WR Tyler Lockett must be excited to go up against a defense suffering a litany of injuries at the positions designed to stop them. The Cowboys could and likely will activate rookie defensive back Reggie Robinson for this game. Without Awuzie (hamstring) and Brown (ribs) on Sunday, the defensive backfield is looking paper thin. 

If Diggs can play, he will likely take over on one side with free agent signee Darryl Worley playing cornerback on the other side. Jourdan Lewis will once again be tasked with playing as the slot cornerback even though he has also been banged up so far this season. 

Though the Cowboys signed him for depth at the safety position, they do have Brandon Carr on the roster and he can play some cornerback if needed as he did in his first tenure in Dallas. Third-round selection Robinson was tried out at safety in training camp but he was drafted as a corner and could be utilized at the position on Sunday. 

With all of those injuries to the defense, and with Wilson playing quarterback on the other side, this team is about to get tested. Dallas will see if the next man up scenario works out better for them under Mike McCarthy than it did for the previous regime. 

Will the Cowboys be able to rely on their depth and come away with a victory in Seattle? Share your thoughts with Patrick Conn on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.