The Dallas Cowboys will play their starters for the entire game Monday night and, presumably, will do the same in Week 17. Bear in mind, Monday night’s game means nothing to Dallas, which has clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. On Monday morning, head coach Jason Garrett confirmed his starters would play a full game against the Detroit Lions:
I get the desire to keep things rolling with the offense running as successfully as it has been, but the starters don’t need to play the full game. Look what happened to Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr this weekend. Both players are out for the season thanks to freak plays that left them each with a fractured fibula. Meanwhile, their teams’ playoff hopes have been crushed as a result. Dallas shouldn’t risk it.
If I was in Garrett’s shoes, I’d play my absolute best players for a half, no more. Get Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith and a few others the chance to get into the game, accomplish some things, then get them out. As I said, Monday night’s game is meaningless, it’s not worth the risk. Yes, play them, but don’t leave them on the field exposed to a potential injury for any longer than necessary.
The Cowboys have had a remarkable season and are poised for a deep playoff run. It would be foolish to waste that because of some misguided desire for them to “compete” in a game that is no more meaningful than a preseason contest.