One goal that every team has during the preseason is to make it out of the games without suffering a serious injury. Unfortunately, for the Cowboys, that did not happen on Sunday night in the “Hall of Fame” Game. After impressing the coaches, fans, and media during the first half of the game against the Bengals, third string TE John Phillips went to the ground after a harmless looking attempt to block during a run play. Phillips, who had 4 catches for 60 yards and two very key blocks that sprung RB Tashard Choice on key runs, went down immediately grabbing his knee. He was re-examined today, and the diagnosis is not good. Phillips will miss the entire season with a torn MCL in his knee. He will have surgery in the next few weeks.
Some may wonder what the big deal is surrounding a third string TE missing the year, but head coach Wade Phillips was very impressed with the tight end who shares the same last name, but has no relation. Wade had hoped to get Phillips in on a lot more passing plays after he impressed the coaches at the end of last season with his ability to run after the catch and line-up as a H-back in the backfield. Phillips is very much in the “Chris Cooley” school of TE’s. He is a very versatile player and the Cowboys had some high hopes for the second year man.
The problem becomes even more serious when you consider that the Cowboys suffered injuries to their other backup tight ends during the game. First year player Kevin Brock (ankle sprain) and rookie Scott Sicko (concussion) both suffered injuries and leave the Cowboys with only two healthy tight ends in Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. With Witten expected to play very little on Thursday and limited during the rest of the preseason games, and Bennett returning from a lingering ankle injury, there is no depth at tight end for games.
Bennett has a lot of pressure on him and will be available for the game Thursday against Oakland, but needs to start showing the coaching staff that he is capable of reaching the potential that he has shown flashes of. With Phillips out for the season, he has no one pushing him to be better, which may or may not be a good thing.
One thing is for sure, the Cowboys took another hit on the injury front. Hopefully, they can make it through the rest of the preseason with a little more luck. The team will be looking to add a tight end this week in preparation for the Raiders game Thursday.