FRISCO, Texas -- Over the next two games, the Dallas Cowboys will face teams coming off of 10-day rest periods, with the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers playing Thursday night affairs prior to their trips to AT&T Stadium.
I wonder how much of a disadvantage that is to the Cowboys, to see teams with a mini-bye. I've got other wonders, too. Five of them.
Away we go:
I wonder if teams are seeing how important Cole Beasley is to Dak Prescott's success. Through the first three games last year, Beasley had 20 receptions for 213 yards. He was a first-down machine for Prescott, allowing the then-rookie quarterback to get the ball out of his hands quickly. Through the first three games this season, Beasley has eight catches for 69 yards. He had one catch for 4 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, and it was a key third-down play. Much has been made of Dez Bryant's numbers to start the season, but Beasley's might be more notable.
I wonder if there are some inside the Cowboys organization who miss cornerback Brandon Carr. The Cowboys were not going to spend big to keep him, but Carr's best trait is availability. He has not missed a game in his career and will make start No. 148 on Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens. The Cowboys might not have Nolan Carroll for a second straight game because of a concussion. They might not have rookie Chidobe Awuzie for a second straight game because of a hamstring strain. Orlando Scandrick missed a game with a broken hand and missed time because of cramps against Arizona. Jourdan Lewis didn't finish the game because of hamstring tightness. That's a lot of moving parts when it comes to a critical position like cornerback. They wanted more plays out of Carr, but they at least knew he would be able to play.
The bigger wonder this week is whether Sean Lee will be able to play because of a hamstring strain. With the assumption that he sits against the Rams, I wonder how the Cowboys will work their dime package. In their normal dime package, Lee is the only linebacker on the field. I wonder if that duty would now go to Justin Durant. In their "Deacon" package, with three down linemen and two linebackers, Lee was responsible for dropping in coverage, and Durant played a spy. I wonder if the Cowboys will flip that role, with Durant dropping in coverage and Jaylon Smith working the spy role.
I wonder if this is the week Darren McFadden is active. He has been inactive in the first three games, with the Cowboys going with Alfred Morris as the No. 2 running back behind Ezekiel Elliott. Morris did not play a snap against Arizona, with Rod Smith serving as the third-down back when the Cowboys wanted to give Elliott a break. Perhaps the Cowboys continue to go that route because they see Morris as the better every-down alternative should something happen to Elliott, but the flip they made at the start of the season with Morris over McFadden remains curious because it came out of the blue.
Defensive end David Irving will be eligible to return from his four-game suspension after the Rams game. I wonder how the Cowboys will create the spot to get him on the 53-man roster. To get Damontre Moore on the 53-man roster from his suspension, they cut linebacker Jayrone Elliott, and to get him on the 46-man roster, they deactivated Charles Tapper. Would the Cowboys cut a defensive lineman for Irving, who can play end and tackle? Could it be the time they release Kellen Moore and carry just two quarterbacks? They seem set on carrying six wide receivers, but there aren't a lot of easy places to find a spot for Irving.