Saying the Dallas Cowboys have been unlucky on the defensive side of the ball lately is probably a vast understatement. After losing stud inside linebacker Sean Lee for the year with a torn ACL, the ‘Boys were dealt more bad news on Tuesday – rookie pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence would miss time with a broken foot.

Lawrence reportedly broke his foot in practice and could miss up to 8-10 weeks. The rookie defensive end was “slammed to the turf” by starting offensive tackle Tyron Smith and injured his foot, which will reportedly require surgery.

It’s a bad break for the rook, who was pegged to starter with long-time Cowboy DeMarcus Ware jetting for Denver in free agency. Made a second round pick by the Cowboys out of Boise State, Lawrence was a mild surprise at that point in the 2014 NFL Draft but at least offered a potential spark in terms of athleticism in his first season.

It’s an even tougher break for the Dallas defense, though, as they get hit with their second significant injury of the offseason. The return timetable for Lawrence means he will miss the start of the season, leaving the Cowboys undermanned in the pass rush department for the first few weeks, if not longer.

Jeremy Mincey is expected to step up at one of the end spots in place of the rookie, with George Selvie locking down the other side. It’s not an ideal situation for a Dallas defense that ranked dead last overall in the league a year ago, as Mincey brings just five sacks in his last 26 games to the table.

Without stability at linebacker in the middle of the field and an explosive pass rush on the outside, Dallas is in serious danger of getting torched once again on a weekly basis. Both their run and pass defenses should struggle mightily all year long – even once Lawrence is able to return to the field.

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