The Dallas Cowboys have placed linebacker Bruce Carter on injured reserve due to the elbow injury he suffered in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Redskins. Carter had filled in beautifully for injured linebacker Sean Lee as the defensive signal-caller and the team's leading tackler, but like Lee he will now miss the remainder of the season, per Todd Archer:
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick remains on the active roster despite undergoing left hand surgery last Friday.
One of the Cowboys' strengths coming into this season was their linebacker corps, with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the outside in their 3-4 scheme and Lee and Carter on the inside. Overall roster depth is not among Dallas' strengths, and so the losses of their two starting inside linebackers isn't going to be easy for them to overcome. They will need to rely even more on Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne as shutdown cornerbacks to help cover their weaknesses up front and at safety, and there are liable to be games down the stretch in which the league's No. 8-ranked defense gives up more yards and points than it should to apparently inferior opponents.
This latest significant injury on defense also puts more pressure on Tony Romo and the Cowboys' offense to deliver more consistent production, something that could be helped if running back DeMarco Murray ever returns from his foot injury. The Cowboys are 5-6, two games out of first place in the NFC East and one game behind the NFC's final wild-card spot with five games to play. They host the Eagles this Sunday night.