FRISCO, Texas. On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys lost a starter to a season-ending injury.
Seventh defenseman Anthony Brown has torn his Achilles and will not be returning this season, head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed on Monday.
Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones feared it was Sunday after Brown was driven away at 3:49 to play in the third quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Further testing on Monday confirmed the diagnosis.
Brown is the second starting quarterback for the Cowboys to be injured at the end of the season. Nickel cornerback Jordan Lewis broke his right leg on October 23 and was injured at the end of the season.
Quarterback Dak Prescott, who was drafted by Dallas in the same 2016 draft as Brown, said the veteran had a “hard time” in the locker room after the game.
“He’s a damn competitor,” Prescott said. “He’s a guy who fought his fucking ass year after year to earn his respect, not to mention his starting position and playing time. And kicks his ass.
“I went into the locker room and then obviously I went there, like I said, just trying to love him. I saw that he was going through hard, told him that I was next to him, everything he needed. And yes, I mean the guy, part of the draft class, me, him and Zeke. [Elliott] left, just know how [safety] Jaron Kears told him it was part of it. It’s part of playing this game. This is part of his history. This is part of the journey. It will make you stronger.”
Brown has played 94 games for the Cowboys since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft, starting with 69. He has 324 tackles, 59 pass deflections, 9 interceptions, and 11 tackles for loss.
Brown has started all 12 Cowboys games 9-3 this season with 42 tackles, seven passes and one forced fumble.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn pointed to second-year guard Calvin Joseph, who replaced Brown on Sunday night, as the most experienced replacement for Brown. Second year cornerback Nahshon Wright, who played 91 defensive snaps last year but has only been on special teams so far this season, has worked with cornerback coach Al Harris on development and is expected to contribute. Rookie Daron Bland, who had two interceptions in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 54-19 rout against the Colts on Sunday, played a nickel to help Lewis but could go out.
The Cowboys have defenseman Kendall Sheffield on the training team and have worked with him both inside and out. They also find comfort in how their safety depth can take up the background with an impressive trio in the physical Donovan Wilson, the versatile Kears and veteran Malik Hooker, who contributed to an interception and a fumble touchdown on Sunday against his former team.
Jones said Sunday night he doesn’t expect the outside acquisition to materially change the plan at the corner.
“You look, but no,” Jones said. “These guys are unavailable when you lose one of them. This is not true. But we are lucky that we have such depth. You saw Bland come in tonight and play some plays there. But the only thing I think we have is secondary depth.
“I think we have secondary depth.”
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