The offseason hasn’t been going swimmingly for the Dallas Cowboys, with injuries and off-the-field problems alike causing concern before the first snap of the season, including to their depth at defensive tackle, more necessary than before due to their newly installed 4-3 system, which might make them turn to Amobi Okoye, still looking for a team.
Moving to the 4-3 system should have been a great sign for Jay Ratliff, a player many thought the Cowboys should release but didn’t. He had his fair share of problems with injuries last season, appearing in only six games, and overall continuing the steady decline we’ve been seeing from him over the last few years.
The season hasn’t begun, yet Ratliff is once again injured, placed on the PUP list thanks to a hamstring strain that occurred during conditioning tests. At the moment, this looks like a minor setback, but considering his recent history and his age (turning 32 next month), there’s reason for concern.
There are backups – Sean Lissemore did OK last season, getting to start in six games instead of Ratliff, but the former 7th round pick doesn’t seem to be like a long term solution if Ratliff does go down for a prolonged period of time. There’s also Ben Bass, an undrafted FA signing last offseason who barely got to play in 2012 and again, isn’t the answer in case there’s a long-term injury.
So it’s once again to the free agency market, where Amobi Okoye, who was a starter for the Houston Texas during the first four seasons of his career seems to be like the best option right now. Okoye didn’t live up to the high expectations of being the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft, and left the Texans to Chicago, where he has started only once and failed to make an impact.
He might not be the pro bowl caliber player many expected him to become, but with the Cowboys in serious problem concerning their depth at defensive tackle, he should be an adequate solution.