The Dallas Cowboys received a mixed big with their key starters' injury statuses on Sunday prior to their afternoon showdown with the New York Jets. Eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time First-Team All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, who was a late addition to the injury report Thursday with a groin injury that limited his practice participation, will be active. It is encouraging for Dallas that he will suit up against a New York Jets front whose 36.5% quarterback pressure rate is the fifth-highest in the NFL since the start of the 2022 season.
Wilson suited up, stretched with the team and participated in position drills on Thursday. However, the Cowboys are deep at safety with Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, Markquese Bell, Juanyeh Thomas, and Israel Mukuamu all at defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's disposal.
.#DallasCowboys safety Donovan Wilson, who has been dealing with a calf injury, isn’t working off to the side with the rehab group today, an encouraging sign. Wilson did participate in position drills during the open media portion of practice. pic.twitter.com/R4CLELvZo4— Garrett Podell (@garrettpodell) September 14, 2023
Both Cooks and Smith didn't practice during the week, instead working off to the side. Cooks is dealing with an MCL sprain, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. The veteran is dealing with a Grade 1 strain, but the team isn't viewing this as a multiweek injury, per the Dallas Morning News, and he still has a shot to play against the Jets. McCarthy said Cooks continued to work off to the side with the rehab group on Friday. Second-year wide receiver Jalen Tolbert and KaVontae Turpin will be in line for more snaps at receiver on Sunday. Turpin recorded a seven-yard rushing touchdown late in garbage time in the Cowboys 40-0 thrashing of the Giants on "Sunday Night Football" last week.
After Wednesday's practice, Cooks described his knee as "feeling good" and that if he is out there Sunday against the New York Jets, it would be with "no limitations." Apparently, those limitations were enough to hold the soon-to-be 30-year-old wideout (Cooks' birthday is on September 25) out of the game Sunday.
Smith's progression is more murky. A week ago, McCarthy said right now is the first time the second-year offensive line has dealt with a hamstring injury. Expect Dallas to continue to play the 2022 first-round pick's recovery cautiously. Chuma Edoga once again fill in for Smith at guard. He allowed two quarterback pressures but no sacks on 23 pass-blocking snaps in the Cowboys 40-0 shutout victory at the Giants in Week 1.