Pondering the 46: Not enough healthy players

IRVING, Texas – Finding 46 healthy players for Thursday’s game against Washington will be difficult for the Cowboys, which makes the final few roster spots that much more precious.

Left tackle Tyron Smith is slowed by a high left ankle sprain. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff has a groin injury. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones are hurt. Safety Charlie Peprah and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree suffered concussions on Sunday and are iffy. Ryan Cook has a sore knee. Danny McCray is battling a hip injury.

But when pondering the 46-man roster this week it’s all about position numbers. The Cowboys would ideally take seven offensive linemen to the game, but Smith’s injury might force them to take an eighth even if Smith dresses for the game.

If they take an eighth, then they would have to go lighter somewhere else, like receiver, which puts Andre Holmes’ gameday spot in jeopardy. If they take seven linemen, then Holmes would figure to be active.

Jones’ knee injury leaves the Cowboys dangerously thin at running back too. Murray is likely to miss his sixth straight game. Maybe Jones can play and be on a pitch count, but Lance Dunbar could get more carries.

On the defensive line the hope is that Ratliff can play, especially with Sean Lissemore gimpy. The Cowboys don’t want to have to enter the game with only five defensive linemen. If they do, then you could see more of that hybrid 4-3 look with Alex Albright, Dan Connor and Bruce Carter handling the linebacker spots and Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware playing defensive end.

The secondary could be jumbled with McCray’s injury. They do not have many options at safety if he can’t play, but the return of Mike Jenkins from a two-game absence due to a back injury would help move Brandon Carr to safety in passing situations.

So who’s inactive? The guesses are: Murray, Ogletree, David Arkin, Phil Costa, Vince Agnew, Cook and Lissemore