IRVING, Texas -- Injuries along the Dallas Cowboys' defensive line last year almost got to be comical. Too often the Cowboys signed a player on a Tuesday and needed him to play that week.
"That's a real challenge for anybody," coach Jason Garrett said. "It's hard to do even when they get their feet underneath them with a little bit of a foundation, let alone do it so quickly. So we had to do that a few different times, but that's the nature of this league. Sometimes you have a rash of injuries and you just have to deal with it."
The Cowboys used 20 defensive linemen last year. Only four remain on the team this year: George Selvie, Nick Hayden, Anthony Spencer and Kyle Wilber, who is now a linebacker. The Cowboys cut DeMarcus Ware in the offseason and saw him sign with the Denver Broncos. Jason Hatcher signed with the Washington Redskins.
Of the 14 remaining 2013 defensive linemen, only four are on a roster now: Everette Brown (Washington), Jarius Wynn (Buffalo), Frank Kearse (Washington) and Marvin Austin (Denver). Ten are not in the NFL.
Is that not among the top reasons why the Cowboys were putrid last year on defense?
Through 10 games this season, the Cowboys have not had to force feed new additions to get into the lineup. They have still had in-season additions, like Spencer and DeMarcus Lawrence, and they could see Josh Brent return at some point this season.
"We've been more fortunate up to this point on the defensive line and that's been a good thing for us," Garrett said. "We like this rotation, we like this competition the guys have to get a roster spot, be part of the active list on Sunday and then competition for spots and playing time during the game. It's been a good thing. We feel good about that rotation. I think it's been for our team."