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Cowboys' DL depth will be tested again

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Posted Sept. 22, 2012 @ 12:39 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The Cowboys head into a key game at 1-1 with two regular DL contributors not taking part. NT Jay Ratliff and DE Kenyon Coleman both will be out for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. Ratliff has missed the first two games, and Coleman started both games at left end, playing 23-of-55 snaps in the opener and 20-of-64 in Week Two. DE Marcus Spears, a key reserve, also has been banged up with a knee.

But the team has liked what it has seen out of replacement NT Josh Brent, who has stepped up into Ratliff’s role. They also have seen a lot to like out of DE Sean Lissemore, who will take Coleman’s starting spot. He’ll be spelled by Spears, if he’s healthy. Both Brent and Lissemore have penetrated into the backfield, disrupted plays and rerouted others. Lissemore was in on 10 tackles vs. Seattle.

This also could open up an opportunity for third-round DE Tyrone Crawford to see more action in pass-rushing situations. Ratliff and Coleman could return to the lineup in Week Four, which could present some interesting decisions for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan when he has a full deck.

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