The return of DeMarcus Lawrence from suspension may help ease the pain of losing one of the best offensive guards in the league, La’el Collins. Lawrence is set to make his 2016 season debut Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals after being suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Collins, on the other hand, is headed to the Injured Reserve list after having toe surgery.

DeMarcus Lawrence was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Cowboys and played seven games his rookie season before becoming a full time starter in 2015. He did not have much of an impact his rookie year but was a force on the defensive line last season sacking the quarterback eight times. Lawrence was definitely missed through the Dallas Cowboys first four games where the defense struggled greatly to get pressure on the quarterback.

La'el Collins getting ready to block for rookie Dak Prescott during the Cowboys season opener adjacent the Giants (pic via Roger Steinman)
La’el Collins getting ready to block for rookie Dak Prescott during the Cowboys season opener against the Giants (pic via Roger Steinman).

La’el Collins was an underrated free agent out of LSU who fell in the draft due to to his name being linked to a double homicide. Collins injured his foot against the Bears a couple weeks ago and missed last Sunday’s game against the 49ers to rest it. It did not get better so Collins saw three specialist to get their opinion but they all said that he needs surgery if he wants it to heal properly.

Collins will be replaced by Ronald Leary who was the starter before Collins took over. The Cowboys have faith that Leary will be able to hold his own and compete at a high level. He needs to if the Cowboys want to continue their strong success on the ground.

It’s sad to see any valuable player go down with an injury like Collins, but I am looking forward to seeing what Lawrence can do to help the Cowboy’s struggling defense.