As they were last week, the Cowboys will be without the middle of their offensive line and defensive line once again this week as center Phil Costa will miss with back problems and nose tackle Jay Ratliff will miss with an ankle problem. Costa left during their week 1 game against the Giants, while Ratliff has yet to play a snap this season after injuring himself in the preseason.
Ryan Cook, who was acquired from the Dolphins for a late round pick right before final cuts, will get the start once again at center. He played surprisingly well last week, but he represents a weakness on the offensive line for the Cowboys, as do new starters Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings. Livings was awful in 2011 with the Bengals and Bernadeau is a career backup and former 7th round pick so I have no idea why the Cowboys paid him starter’s money to start for them. In Ratliff’s absence, defensive end Sean Lissemore has played more inside, while Josh Price-Brent has been starting at nose tackle. Defense hasn’t really been an issue for the Cowboys so far this year, as they rank 10th in yards per play, but Ratliff was ProFootballFocus’ 7th rated defensive tackle last year, so the sooner he returns, the better.
The Cowboys will be without one other starter this week on defense, a new injury, as starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh is expected to miss. Sensabaugh is a solid starter at a position that is otherwise a weakness for the Cowboys. Mediocre starter Barry Church, who is also nursing an injury, will play and Danny McCray will play in the absence of Sensabaugh, who is listed as doubtful with a calf problem. It’s a weakness area.