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Mounting injuries put the Dallas Cowboys in a tough spot early in the 2020 NFL season

Expectations were high for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2020 NFL season. They may not have made the postseason in 2019, but they had the looks of a team that probably should have.

Dak Prescott was coming off the best season of his NFL career, and he was set to be paired for the first time with Mike McCarthy at head coach rather than Jason Garrett. The Cowboys went out and got who some believed to be the best wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, CeeDee Lamb, at tremendous value in the middle of the first round, giving Dallas a top-three wide receiver group that could go toe-to-toe with any trio in the NFL.

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Defensively, they beefed up the defensive line with the signings of Everson Griffen, Aldon Smith, Gerald McCoy (who was released after sustaining an injury) and Dontari Poe. Leighton Vander Esch was returning healthy after an injury kept him from building on a tremendous rookie season. There was a lot to be optimistic about. 

An opening loss to a Los Angeles Rams team that had tempered expectations coming into the year put a damper on some of those high hopes for the Cowboys. Now, with games coming up against the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, they're in danger of stringing together losses and digging themselves an early hole, especially with key players missing time through injury.

Nov 24, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) reacts with offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) during warm-up before the start of the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Injury No. 1: RT La'el Collins

Injury 1b. T Cam Erving

The Cowboys' offensive line was already dealt a blow when longtime center Travis Frederick announced his retirement. That forced Joe Looney back into the lineup, where he filled in for Frederick in 2018 and earned a 53.3 overall grade.

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