The Dallas Cowboys will open up the regular season this week against a very formidable opponent in the San Francisco 49ers, and although the 49ers defense is the more renowned unit, it’s their offense that will likely cause the Cowboys the most grief. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and DeMarco Murray can put up some points against a weakened 49ers D, but the Niners have improved so much offensively that they have the potential to make a huge Week 1 statement on the scoreboard by lighting up a beat-up Cowboys defense.
According to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, new Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain stated that he doesn’t expect to play against the 49ers this week, as he is still nursing a high-ankle sprain that he suffered during the preseason. McClain was once viewed as a lock to return in time for the start of the regular season, but he is now hopeful that he can return in Week 2.
This isn’t a huge loss (especially for just one game), but it’s another blow to the Cowboys paper-thin depth on the defensive line. McClain would have struggled mightily against the 49ers tough interior, as he repeatedly gets bullied in the running game. But he does have some upside as a rotational pass rusher, because he is small and explosive in that facet of the game. McClain’s absence clears out more snaps for the rookies behind him, so we’ll see how the likes of Ben Bishop perform against San Francisco. While McClain didn’t rule himself out, I doubt we see him this week.