Caesar Rayford was just happy to be here earlier this week after arriving from Indianapolis via a trade, but he better be ready to play, and play at defensive tackle.
With only eight healthy bodies in the defensive line -- three at DT -- the Cowboys are counting on Rayford to take some snaps come Sunday. It doesn't matter that he arrived here only Tuesday. It doesn't matter that his natural position is at DE.
"He has to be viable for us at some point in this ball game," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Rayford, an outside linebacker in the Colts' 3-4 scheme, had a league-leading five sacks in the preseason. Dallas gave up a conditional pick in 2015 to acquire him because of starting defensive end Anthony Spencer's setback from knee surgery. Reserve defensive end Ben Bass dislocated his shoulder in Thursday's practice.
"I feel like I’ve made plays, but I’m always about the next game, the next day," Rayford said Wednesday. "I made some plays in the preseason, but the preseason is over, and now it’s the next game. I’ve got to keep it going, keep it consistent and just at it."
Rayford, 27, played in the Canadian and the Arena Football Leagues before getting his chance in the NFL with the Colts. Now, he's with the Cowboys.
"The way I describe my journey is some people get in the front door; some people get in the back door; but guys like me have got to climb the house and jump in the chimney," Rayford said. "That’s been basically my journey. It’s been long and hard. I’ve stayed the course, and now I’m here."
-- Charean Williams