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November 30, 2012

Cowboys preparing to mix and match defensive personnel against Eagles because of injuries

Because of an ongoing rash of injuries to defensive players, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said coaches will “have to mix and match” personnel in Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, with multiple players lining up in non-traditional roles.

“Guys have to be a little flexible and they’ve got to be a little versatile,” Garrett said of a defensive lineup that could include cornerback Brandon Carr at safety, cornerback Mike Jenkins at slot corner and selected linebackers seeing duty at both inside and outside spots.

Dallas has four defensive starters on injured reserve (inside linebacker Sean Lee, inside linebacker Bruce Carter, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Barry Church) and probably will play Sunday without All-Pro nose tackle Jay Ratliff (groin).

In addition, slot corner Orlando Scandric (hand surgery) is out indefinitely and safety Charlie Peprah (foot) has not practiced this week.

For the first time this season, outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will wear the radio communication helmet and call the team’s defensive signals _ a duty that previously fell to Lee, then Carter, before both suffered season-ending injuries.

“We’re fortunate we have smart players on our football team. We have guys who can handle a couple of different spots,” Garrett said. “You want to put them in a position doing things that they can handle. Sometimes, backup players have to be more of a jack-of-all-trades. And you’ve got to be able to handle it. We have to do a good job as coaches giving them a chance to be successful once they’re in there. You just have to make it work.”

_ Jimmy Burch

 

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