The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has been decimated by injuries or suspensions all offseason, so the news that Charles Tapper will be out Week 1 shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Tapper, the team’s 2016 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, will need more time to recover from his back injury, according to ESPN. He wont be available for Week 1 and his status after that is uncertain.
The rookie has been out since early August with an injury known as pars defect.
The Cowboys have had their share of tough news along the defensive line. Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence are both suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The length of Gregory’s suspension is still pending, while Lawrence is suspended for four games. Tyrone Crawford, Benson Mayowa and Maliek Collins have all been battling injuries during the offseason.
The Cowboys are expected to start defensive end David Irving, defensive tackles Crawford, Cedric Thornton and defensive end Jack Crawford along their D-line Week 1 against the New York Giants.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Cowboys fare during the early stages of the regular season. On offense, quarterback Tony Romo’s (back) unavailability has been well chronicled. Dallas will rely heavily on two rookies in the backfield with Dak Prescott filling in for Romo and Ezekiel Elliott slated to start at tailback.
With all the questions on offense, the Cowboys’ defense might be the unit with the most uncertainty. Last year, Dallas ranked No. 17 in total defense and No. 22 against the run. Those numbers could get worse without a full compliment of defensive linemen.