The Dallas Cowboys will likely have their star wide receiver back before they face the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday, barring further injury.
Dez Bryant was on the practice field Wednesday for the first time since September 11th after breaking a bone in his right foot during the Cowboys season opener against the Giants on September 13th. Bryant was limited in practice, and Coach Jason Garrett wants to see him in a full practice before declaring him ready to play against the Seahawks this Sunday.
However, regardless of whether or not he plays against the Seahawks, he is most likely going to play and be a full participant against the Eagles. Bryant reportedly has been doing rehab and resistance training, along with getting a stem-cell injection in his foot to accelerate the recovery process.
The Cowboys (2-5) are at the bottom of the NFC East, and they desperately need a win against the Seahawks if they are going to stay in what is still a four-way race for the division. So, they would benefit greatly from having Bryant playing. If Bryant does come back this week, though, it is unlikely that he will be playing up to his full capabilities, and he still needs time to adjust to Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Nonetheless, the Pro-Bowl receiver will most likely be healthier and more accustomed to playing with Cassel by the time the Eagles and Cowboys prime-time game rolls around.
Bryant didn’t play in the Week 2 matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys, but the Cowboys still won convincingly, 20-10. Nonetheless, Bryant has been a huge challenge for the Eagles. The last time he faced the Eagles, he had six receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns. The only time the Eagles have been able to manage him effectively was in his second year, 2011, when they held him to nine receptions for 90 scoreless yards in two Cowboys losses. In the three years that followed, however, Bryant has been dominant against Philadelphia, posting a combined 35 receptions for 581 yards and seven touchdowns in six games. In addition, the Cowboys are 4-2 in those six games.
The Eagles have been good against wide receivers for the most part this season, but they have also not had to face many receivers comparable to Bryant’s level of talent. When they have gone up against comparable talent, however, the results have been mixed and not necessarily favorable for the Eagles.
In Week 1, Julio Jones burned the Eagles secondary for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and, in Week 3, Brandon Marshall posted 109 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles did a good job of limiting Odell Beckham Jr. to 61 yards receiving, but they allowed him to score a touchdown, and he was still healing from a hamstring injury.
When the Eagles played the Cowboys without Bryant, the Eagles defense did a decent job of limiting their receiver’s production: Terrance Williams (4 receptions, 84 yards, 1 TD), Devin Street, (1 rec., 18 yards), and Cole Beasley (4 rec., 14 yards). However, it’s a whole different matchup with Dez Bryant in the game.