The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) host the Indianapolis Colts (10-4) Sunday at AT&T Stadium in a game that means more to Dallas, who has yet to lock up a playoff spot, than it does the Colts, who have already clinched the AFC South. The Cowboys need all hands on deck, but an ankle injury to right tackle Doug Free increases the challenge.
"I’m a little skeptical we’re going to have Free," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] Friday. "But let’s see what the few days bring. We may get some of Free, and that may be worth giving him an active roster spot."
If Free can’t play Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys will look to backup tackle Jeremy Parnell to step in. The sixth-year pro out of Ole Miss has already started twice this season as Free recovered from a broken right foot.
Jones is impressed with Parnell, saying he has "maybe the biggest punch on the team."
"I like him, Jones said. "I don’t think anybody has a better swing, backup tackle, because he can play both tackles. I don’t think there’s a better backup situation in the NFL."
The only problem Jones sees with Parnell is his inconsistency.
"He’s always had the issue of staying consistent, being consistent. And you need that badly obviously in the offensive line because it just takes one inconsistency at the wrong time and you can impact the game on that one play, that one mistake."
The Colts surrender 4.3 yards per carry, ranking 20th in the NFL, though they rank 10th in the league with 36 sacks this season. Parnell will need to be consistent Sunday to help Dallas improve to 11-4 and stay ahead of Philadelphia en route to an NFC East title.