Dallas Cowboys concerned following injures to Barry Church, Morris Claiborne
Despite the Dallas Cowboys overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, injuries to two critical members of Dallas’ defense has the front office concerned.
The Dallas Cowboys came away with a 29-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, upping their regular season record to 6-1. But America’s Team didn’t come unscathed.
In fact, the Cowboys defense could have taken a potentially devastating hit in the aftermath of the critical divisional win. Both starting strong safety Barry Church and cornerback Morris Claiborne suffered injuries during the tight contest.
According to Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, Church is believed to have suffered a fractured arm. While Claiborne suffered a groin injury.
Stephen Jones said S Barry Church fractured his right forearm and admitted team concerned about CB MO Claiborne's groin injury
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 31, 2016
Both injuries are deeply concerning in their own ways. Not only do both players represent half of the Cowboys starting secondary, but they each have their own injury history.
Church missed the final game of last season after breaking his right arm in a Week 16 loss to the Bills. His recovery time was estimated to be around six-to-eight weeks because it was a clean break. According to Jones, the seventh-year veteran fractured that same arm Sunday night against the Eagles. The severity of the fracture is yet unknown.
As for Claiborne, his injury history is too long to mention. Needless to say, the former sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft has missed a total of 24 games in his first four seasons in Dallas. Yet, Claiborne had been having the best season of his career prior to this injury. Morris just spent the team’s bye getting over a head injury he suffered in Week Six against the Green Bay Packers.
It is currently unknown how much time either player might miss due to their respective injuries. But the fact the Cowboys brass are concerned should make everyone involved concerned.
If either player is forced to miss significant playing time due to their injuries, it will certainly put the Dallas defense in a bad position moving forward. Church will likely be replaced by fourth-year safety J.J. Wilcox in the starting lineup.
Wilcox, a former starter, was thought to be a possible roster bubble candidate this offseason. But the 2013 third round selection surprisingly made it through final roster cuts and has impressed during his limited snaps coming off the bench. Pressed into a starting role, Wilcox’s liabilities as a tackler and in coverage will be tested by opposing offenses.
As for Claiborne’s replacement, sixth round rookie cornerback Anthony Brown should get the nod. Brown was impressive in place of injured veteran slot corner Orlando Scandrick earlier this season. He’ll certainly be tested playing outside in this secondary. But the rookie is an excellent tackler and will fight hard in coverage.
Although the Cowboys likely have the depth to cover both Church and Claiborne’s possible absences, the secondary depth chart is getting very thin. Dallas could be one injury away from a real disaster.
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