The Dallas Cowboys’ 2021 season is off to an inauspicious start.
As if losing the NFL kickoff game wasn’t bad enough, the Cowboys received some more bad news on Friday. Starting right tackle La’el Collins is facing a five-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Collins appealed the suspension but an arbitrator ruled against him. That hasn’t stopped Collins’ agent from filing another appeal, so we’ll see if anything changes on this front. (I’m going to guess it won’t.)
Assuming Collins’ suspension is upheld, he will NOT be available for the Cowboys’ Week 3 Monday Night Football matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. And that’s a big deal, as noted by our friend RJ Ochoa over at Blogging The Boys:
To be frank, this is devastating for the Cowboys. They played without Zack Martin on Thursday night (who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend) and looked on track to get him back next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Operating without Collins for over a month is going to be challenging.
How the Cowboys handle Collins’ absence remains to be seen. Martin is obviously the team’s starting right guard, but with Connor McGovern handling the position well on Thursday night perhaps the Cowboys consider kicking Martin out to right tackle for the next five weeks.
Collins isn’t the only key player that’s already set to miss that key NFC East battle. Starting wide receiver Michael Gallup suffered a calf strain on Thursday night and is reportedly set to miss three-to-five weeks. The Cowboys still have Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, so it’s not like they’re left without weapons. Still, they won’t be operating at 100%.
Moreover, I can’t help but point out how bad the vibes have been for the Cowboys at the start of this season. From Dak Prescott missing a good chunk of training camp with a shoulder injury (that might pop up again down the road?), to Mike McCarthy looking less than inspiring on HBO’s Hard Knocks, to these latest injuries/supsensions ... is this all really the precursor for a special season? We’ll see.
The good news for the Cowboys is they currently lead the league in moral victories. So, they’ve got that going for them.