FRISCO, Texas -- Overall, the Dallas Cowboys are on the mend. The trio of No. 2 wide receiver Brandin Cooks (knee), safety Donovan Wilson (calf) and left guard Tyler Smith (hamstring) are all active on Sunday against the Cardinals. Wilson and Smith will make their 2023 season debuts. Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (elbow), who has been filling in for Smith, is also active, as is safety Jayron Kearse (illness).
However, the two players to not practice Friday morning, outside of Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs whoZack Martin and Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz -- are two critical inactives for the Cowboys' Week 3 game at the Arizona Cardinals.-- eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time First-Team All-Pro right guard
The Cowboys elevated two centers, Brock Hoffman (a second-year undrafted free agent who has played in five career games) and Sean Harlow (a 28-year-old veteran who has eight career starts since entering the NFL as a fourth-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2017) from their practice on Saturday. With Hoffman snapping the football to quarterback Dak Prescott in warmups, according to The Athletic, it appears he will start in place of Biadasz. Meanwhile, undrafted rookie offensive lineman T.J. Bass is in line for his first career start in Week 3, replacing Martin. He has allowed one quarterback pressure on 17 pass-blocking snaps.
McCarthy gushed when talking about Donovan Wilson's impact as earlier this week and is surely fired up about the safety making his 2023 season debut on Sunday. Dallas signed him to a. Wilson, 28, led the team with 101 tackles and ranked fifth in sacks with 5.0 in 2022.
"Dono[van] Wilson is an impact player," McCarthy said Wednesday. "His teammates feed off his play style, and he is a big part of our standard for how we play on defense. So, he'll be ready to get back out there [soon], and we'll see exactly where we are. You feel for Donovan Wilson."
Wilson's versatility as a tackler and pass rusher from the safety position is historically unique as his 2022 season made him only the fourth defensive back to total over 100 tackles (101) and five or more sacks (5.0) in a single season since combined tackles have been tracked beginning in 1987. He joins Hall of Fame safety Rod Woodson's 1992 season, retired Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison's 2000 season and retired Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson's 2005 season. Not bad company at all.
Defensive backs with 100+ tackles and 5+ sacks in a single season since 1987
|SEASON||TEAM||PLAYER||TACKLES & SACKS|
101 tackles, 5.0 sacks
109 tackles, 8.0 sacks
San Diego Chargers
127 tackles, 6.0 sacks
100 tackles, 6.0 sacks
As Mike McCarthy promised, both WR Brandin Cooks (knee) and Donovan Wilson (calf) were in uniform and participating today. LG Tyler Smith (hamstring), who like Wilson has yet to play for the #DallasCowboys in 2023, was also practicing with the rest of the o-line today . pic.twitter.com/9oz43VeXHm— Garrett Podell (@garrettpodell) September 20, 2023
Cooks appears to be mostly over his MCL sprain, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. The veteran is dealing with a Grade 1 strain, but the team didn't view this as a multiweek injury, per the Dallas Morning News, and his injury status reflects that. Cooks said a week ago that if he is out on the field, he is playing with "no limitations."