NOTES: Injury bug puts spotlight on Cowboys youth

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Jenkins/AP/Shutterstock (13435805pc) Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph (1) reacts during an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders in Arlington, Texas Commanders Cowboys Football, Arlington, United States – 02 Oct 2022

NOTES: Injury bug puts spotlight on Cowboys youth

The Cowboys lost their second significant cornerback on Sunday night when Anthony Brown went down with an Achilles injury on his 43rd snap of the night.

Brown was having an excellent season for the Cowboys, starting all 11 games and playing close to 91% of the snaps. He had 42 total tackles, and seven passes defended.

“Anthony has been super, super consistent. He has played at such a high level. Obviously, it is emotional just to see him go through that. So, it’s a season-ending injury, and he will be missed. But what I have always appreciated about AB, forget about his on-the-field performance; he’s the same person every day. Very easy to work with, very coachable. Just a high-quality person.”

With Jourdan Lewis already on the shelf after suffering a Lisfranc fracture in his foot against Detroit, that now puts the Cowboys, who run a 4-2-5 defense, down the services of two of their three starting cornerbacks.

They have not only lost the production and consistency that Brown, and Lewis brought to the field, but the leadership both players had displayed this season behind the scenes.

“It’s a ton of stress,” McCarthy said. “Not only is it two starters, but you are talking about veteran core players that carry a lot of weight in the locker room, too. The one thing I’m hopeful (about), and it’s encouraging, is that our younger players have played so much throughout the season. So, if there was a point in this season that we have positioned ourselves for our young players to be ready it is definitely now.”

So, when the Cowboys kickoff on Sunday, and for the foreseeable future, it will be Trevon Diggs manning one cornerback spot and a trio of young players with six starts between them playing the other two spots.

This week the Texans will see a whole lot of DaRon Bland, Kelvin Joseph, and, probably, Nahshon Wright.

While Bland has played well since Lewis went down, including grabbing two interceptions against Indianapolis, the Cowboys hoped that Joseph and Wright would continue to get the majority of their snaps on special teams.

“We will just continue to work our young guys in,” McCarthy said. “I think it is important to recognize that a lot of our young guys played big (on Sunday night). They’re not rookies anymore. We have a very young football team, and we have been playing young guys all year.”

Joseph played 29 snaps at corner on Sunday night, while Wright was inactive for the game.

“Kelvin’s extremely talented,” McCarthy said. “He has done some really good things on special teams. I mean, we leave him and C.J. (Goodwin) as singles, and I think that speaks volumes about how we feel about them. They’ve been given some tough challenges over the course of the year. But this is a huge opportunity for him. We’re counting on him to step up.”

If the Cowboys aren’t satisfied with Joseph or Wright, they can always look to their own practice squad and pluck Kendall Sheffield.

Sheffield, a fourth-year corner out of Ohio State, played his first three seasons with Atlanta, where he started 20 games. He has no career interceptions but does have six passes defended and 101 tackles in his time with the Falcons.

Or they could always grab a cornerback off another team’s roster.

“I think our numbers reflect that,” McCarthy said about adding players from outside the organization. “We’ll continue to always look at players, in both the practice squad route and where we are on the 53-man roster.”

For now, it will be Joseph or Wright getting their first start of the season on Sunday, but there are options just none are ideal.

OBJ at The Star

Odell Beckham Jr. made his visit to The Star in Frisco on Monday to hear the Cowboys pitch as the receiver looks for a new team.

“I’ve never been part of something like this, this late in the season,” McCarthy said. “So, just like anything, until you sit down in front of one another, and everybody gets the information, you truly don’t know exactly where everything stands. But yeah, definitely, he’s been to two other clubs, and I’m glad he’s here.”

The Cowboys, along with the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills, were on the list of visits for Beckham, who hasn’t played since tearing his ACL during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI last season with the Rams.

Beckham, according to head coach Mike McCarthy, was at The Star going through the medical phase of the visit but had not met with the wide receiver yet.

The plan was for Beckham to meet with the Cowboys on Monday and Tuesday, but it was unclear whether he would work out for the team.

“I don’t have all the details about exactly what they are going to do,” McCarthy said. “I know (head athletic trainer) Jim (Maurer) and (assistant athletic trainer) Britt (Brown), and the staff is meeting currently.”

Beckham is said to be looking for a two-year deal.

Cowboys rewrite scoring records

The 33 points the Cowboys put up in the final 13 minutes of the fourth quarter on Sunday night was a team record for points in a quarter. The previous record was 29 that came in the second quarter of a 43-3 win over Atlanta in 2021.

The 33 points were also the second most points ever scored in the fourth quarter of an NFL game, tying the 1925 Chicago Cardinals. Both being just behind a 34-point outburst from the Detroit Lions in 2007.

Hooker’s accomplishment

Malik Hooker became the first Cowboys player to have an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown since Dennis Thurman did it in 1983.

Hooker’s interception came late in the first half. He picked off Matt Ryan at the Dallas 48 and returned it 26 yards to the Colts 26. Five plays later, the Cowboys punched it into the end zone to grab a 21-13 lead at the half.

Then came the fumble recovery as the Cowboys’ defense began to take over the game.

Hooker scooped up a Moe Allie-Cox fumble and returned it 38 yards for the touchdown early in the fourth quarter to get the scoring barrage started.

Cowboys-Colts scorigami

The Cowboys and Colts entered another record book on Sunday night, the Scorigami record book. The final of 54-19 is the first time in NFL history a game has ended with that score.

It is the 1,074th score combination in NFL history and the second scorigami of the 2022 season. The first coming in Week 4 when the Seahawks beat the Lions 48-45.

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