The Dallas Cowboys‘ inactives for Week 2 will look significantly different this week after the team suffered several short-term injuries in the season opener.

  • QB Dak Prescott
  • S Jayron Kearse
  • OG Connor McGovern
  • WR Jalen Tolbert
  • CB Nahshon Wright
  • WR Michael Gallup
  • LB Jabril Cox

Beyond the obvious fact that having Cooper Rush in at quarterback is a massive downgrade from Dak Prescott, this week’s inactive list calls for significant change on defense.

Jayron Kearse being ruled out means Dan Quinn won’t have one of his best players in the secondary. Earlier this week, the Cowboys defensive coordinator went as far as claiming he doesn’t ask more from any other player on his defense. The safety-linebacker hybrid does so much to allow Dallas to feature three-safety looks and create match-up conundrums for opposing offenses.

Now that he won’t be ready to play, expect changes in the Cowboys’ safety room. Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson will remain the starters but the depth will look differently, as well as Kearse’s S/LB role.

Last week, Israel Mukuamu and rookie Markquese Bell were inactive. This time, both will suit up and could see significant playing time. But what it will look like is tough to figure out.

Bell is cut from the same cloth from Kearse. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys in the hopes of him being a versatile player for Quinn’s defense. But how much will he be trusted this early in his career? Would the Cowboys prefer to avoid Big Nickel altogether?

Not to mention, facing the Bengals naturally calls for more two-high defensive looks. Does that open the door for Mukuamu at some point in the game as some sort of hybrid nickelback/free safety?

If the Cowboys are to keep this one a close affair, it will likely be because of their defense. How Quinn deploys his safeties will be something to monitor on game time.

Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports