The Green Bay Packers’ strength on defense this season has been stopping the run. They are doing so with all-time great numbers through four games, but the team has struggled at times with opposing teams’ top receiving threats. For example, Stefon Diggs and Marvin Jones of the Vikings and Lions (respectively) torched the Packers’ defense for 182 and 205 yards in back-to-back weeks before the bye.
However, a week after holding Odell Beckham Jr. mostly in check without either starting cornerback, it appears that the Packers’ secondary has a good chance of getting a breather next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. That is because Dez Bryant, the Cowboys’ former All-Pro wide receiver, is continuing to deal with a hairline fracture in his knee and is questionable to play this week.
That news comes courtesy of Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones, who said that the Cowboys “won’t rush Dez Bryant back” when asked about the wideout’s availability for Sunday. From that comment, one can infer that Bryant’s injury is continuing to linger, and that Dallas will not suit him up for game action unless he is fully healed.
Bryant was ineffective against the Packers in his last game in Green Bay, catching just one of six targets for nine yards last year in week 14. Bryant also had a drop that led to an interception by Sam Shields in the end zone. Of course, his game against the Packers in the 2014 playoffs was more memorable, in large part because of the 4th-down play that was ruled incomplete up the sideline when he lost control of the football when going to the ground.
Bryant is not the only key player who could miss Sunday’s game for Dallas, however. Jones also mentioned that cornerback Orlando Scandrick is “unlikely” to play on Sunday due to hamstring injuries. Scandrick is the Cowboys’ primary slot cornerback and would normally be a candidate to cover Randall Cobb when the Packers line up with three or more wide receivers. Scandrick played the first two games of this year after missing all of the 2015 season due to a torn ACL suffered in the preseason.
Although the two players have both missed the last two games, Dallas has earned victories in each of those contests, a 24-17 win over San Francisco and a 28-14 victory over the Bengals. However, the Cowboys are also uncertain of the availability of their other starting wide receiver, Terrance Williams, who left last Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. We will be keeping an eye on all of the injured Cowboys’ statuses throughout the week.