It should come as little surprise, since he missed practice all this week--and this after missing the past two games--but All-Pro nose tackle is not going to go against the Cincinnati Bengals this week, as he continues to deal with a groin issue. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan ruled him out while speaking to the media today.
“He was going great early, but he’s battling through everything,” Ryan said, per the Dallas Morning News. “But so is [Anthony] Spencer. They are giving us everything they have. If the pass-rush hasn’t looked like it should, you know Jay Ratliff hasn’t even been out there. These other guys are playing. They are giving us everything they have. But we need to get after the passer. That’s no question.”
As in the previous six games Ratliff has missed, Dallas will rely on Josh Brent--who’s putting a pretty nice year together, and impressing his coaches, including Ryan, in the process.
“He’s really matured as a player,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “He’s been a spot player for us in the past, a handful of snaps here and there in each of the ballgames, but because Ratliff has been out for a large part of the season, he’s played a lot more. He’s matured a lot. That can happen with players. You give them an opportunity to play more and some guys expose themselves and some guys rise up and become better players and prove to you that, ‘Hey, I can be a starter in this league.’ I think he’s shown that. He’s a natural nose tackle. He’s a two-gapping nose tackle, that’s the body type, but he’s also a pretty good athlete. He can make plays from side to side. I think he’s grown every week. I think he’s taken advantage of the opportunity we’ve given him.”
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