The Cowboys are counting on Jay Ratliff. To that end, they didn't draft any defensive linemen, happy with Ratliff and Jason Hatcher at defensive tackle in their conversion back to the 4-3.
But Ratliff will have an MRI on his hamstring after injuring it in the team's conditioning test Saturday.
"We'll just evaluate that as we go with Rat," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Rat’s had a few different things going on over the last year that he’s dealt with. He has worked very hard in his rehab. He wanted to run the test yesterday just to see where he was, to see if he can come back to practice as early as possible. So he is getting an MRI done today. We will evaluate what that situation is and make our best decision with him."
Ratliff missed 10 games last season with various injuries. He had plantar fasciitis in the 2012 offseason, sprained his ankle in the preseason and then needed surgery late in the season to repair a sports hernia, which put him on injured reserve.
His sack totals have decreased five consecutive seasons, including no sacks in 2012. But the Cowboys are excited about having him as their 3-technique in the Tampa Two defense being installed by Monte Kiffin. They believe he is a good fit for the defense.
"He got a lot of good work for us in the offseason, very smart, great veteran football player," defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said. "Just can’t wait to get him back."
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones insists he has no concerns about Ratliff.
"He finished the conditioning test," Jones said. "He’s working through some things. We’ll handle that and we’re not concerned."
-- Charean Williams