But he also expects the Cowboys to take Witten’s long-term health and the overall season into consideration.
“We usually take the position here that the player is going to play. We go about our business that way, and if it’s otherwise, it’s otherwise,” Coughlin said in a conference call with Dallas-Fort Worth reporters Saturday. “But we’re not going to be surprised if it’s the other way. We are not going to say that he’s not going to play and then he plays.
“I’m sure they’ll take any consideration for his health. It’s a long season, and whether he’s able to play a certain amount of plays or whether he can’t play at all, will be a decision I’m sure they’ll make based on his health status for the remainder of the year.”
Witten caught passes in practice Saturday, but the Cowboys are nowhere close to announcing that he is ready to play Wednesday. He did nothing for 10 days following an Aug. 13 collision in Oakland that left him with a lacerated spleen.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday that the Cowboys are weighing the benefit of holding Witten back until the Seattle game in Week 2, which would give him an extra 10 days to heal.
Coughlin knows well the importance of Witten to the Cowboys’ offense.
“All you have to do is look at the tape,” he said. “He leads the team in receptions, far and away. The quarterback is very comfortable in every circumstance getting him the ball, and he does an outstanding job of maneuvering and getting open and finding a way to advance the ball once he catches it. He is very versatile, and he can be used in a lot of different ways, and the quarterback is very, very comfortable knowing where he is.”
-- Carlos Mendez