Cowboys could need added protection on offensive line again

ARLINGTON, Texas – On Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys dressed eight offensive linemen against the Los Angeles Chargers because they weren’t sure they could count on left tackle Tyron Smith making it through the game.

As they get ready to take on the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, the Cowboys are facing a similar question with a different tackle. Right tackle La'el Collins did not practice during the week because of a sore back and is officially listed as questionable.

Can he make it through the game? Can the Cowboys dress eight offensive linemen again?

To do that, the Cowboys might have to give up the dream of dressing six wide receivers with Noah Brown and Ryan Switzer filling out those spots.

Six of the inactives are relatively easy to figure out.

Linebackers Sean Lee (hamstring) and Justin Durant (concussion) have been ruled out. If the Cowboys weren’t going to dress Darren McFadden, then there is no reason to keep a third tailback active, so Trey Williams sits. There is no need to dress a fourth tight end either, so Blake Jarwin sits.

The Cowboys signed Datone Jones this week, but Rod Marinelli wasn’t sure Jones would be ready to play when he spoke Tuesday. That means he is down. Defensive tackle Daniel Ross has yet to be active since he was signed off the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad.

So now the final spot is down to Collins, Chaz Green, Brown, Switzer and cornerback Bene Benwikere.

The belief is Collins will be able to play but the Cowboys could want to protect themselves with Green as the eighth offensive linemen.

Benwikere was in the cornerback rotation mix at practice this week as they look to retool their secondary a little bit. Brown has a role on special teams and a smaller one on offense. The same with Switzer, who has looked a little more dangerous on kickoff returns the last two games.

Switzer has an ankle injury that limited his practice work during the week. He has not played a big offensive role in recent weeks. Brown has done more there with his ability to block.

So the guess at the inactives is: Lee, Durant, Ross, Jones, Jarwin, Williams and Switzer.