The Chicago Bears likely will be without quarterback Jay Cutler and several defensive starters when they visit the Dallas Cowboys while trying to avoid a second 0-3 start in as many seasons under coach John Fox.
Not that Fox is putting much focus on the lengthy injury list .
"You don't have any choice," Fox said. "Nobody comes to rescue you. They're not going to cancel the game. I don't get much into it."
And not that the former Denver coach is particularly stressed about another 0-2 start. Four years ago, his Broncos went from 2-3 to 13-3.
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"So it's a start. It's not an ending," the coach said. "A lot of times on the outside it's a crisis or carnival and we don't look at it that way. It's two games."
If Cutler is sidelined Sunday night with a sprained right thumb that forced him out during last week's 29-14 loss to Philadelphia, Brian Hoyer is in line for his 27th career start with his fourth different team — and his first against the Cowboys.
The eighth-year pro was with Houston last season when the Texans rallied from 2-5 to a playoff spot, although he threw four interceptions in a 30-0 wild-card loss to Kansas City and wound up with the Bears.
"I think a lot is made (of) early on, trying to get things together," said Hoyer, whose career record is 15-11. "But it's a long season. That's the biggest thing to stress."
The Bears lost to a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz of the Eagles last week and face another one this week. Dak Prescott, the third-stringer when training camp started, is filling in for Tony Romo after the 36-year-old's fourth back injury in less than four years. Backup Kellen Moore broke an ankle in camp.
Prescott, with an NFL-record 75 pass attempts without an interception to start a career, led a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter of a 27-23 win at Washington.
Now he's trying to double the number of wins the Cowboys (1-1) had without Romo in 14 games over three seasons before the 23-year-old joined them as a fourth-round pick.
"I just take a lot of pride in what I do, in my job," said Prescott, the first quarterback drafted by Dallas since 2009. "My job is to play quarterback for this organization and to prepare each and every day to do my best, so that's more of what I take pride in."
Things to consider in the Bears' first trip to Arlington since a 34-18 romp four years ago on a Monday night. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had the same job with Chicago then, and the Bears intercepted Romo five times.
The Cowboys have lost eight straight home games dating to last year's opener. But Romo has missed seven of them, and he didn't finish the other one. Romo's second broken left collarbone of the season came in a Thanksgiving loss to Carolina.
"I didn't even know it was really that bad until you all just said something about it," said receiver Cole Beasley, the team leader with 13 catches.
More Missing Bears
Although the Cutler injury grabs the headlines, the defense is hurting more. Linebacker Lamarr Houston tore a ligament in his left knee in the loss to the Eagles, and linebacker Danny Trevathan had thumb surgery this week. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman missed some practices after spraining an ankle against the Eagles. Safety Adrian Amos and nickel back Bryce Callahan went into the concussion protocol, and that's just the short list.
They Found Dez
Receiver Dez Bryant led the Cowboys with seven catches for 102 yards against Washington after getting just one for 8 yards in an opening loss to the New York Giants. It didn't change Bryant's approach to his rookie quarterback.
"Dez has been great since I've gotten here and since his one catch last week to his catches this week," said Prescott, who hasn't thrown a touchdown pass but has a rushing TD.
No matter who's at quarterback, Fox would like to commit to the run. The Bears are tied for 25th in the NFL at 68.5 yards rushing per game. Chicago getting behind in games didn't help.
"I think any quarterback, I don't care what status they are, will tell you the running game is one of their best friends," Fox said.
Dak in Prime Time
Prescott gets his first prime-time start, and perhaps his only one for a couple of years if Romo has recovered from the broken bone in his back for Dallas' next Sunday night game Oct. 30 against Philadelphia, also at home.
"Every game's prime time to me," Prescott said. "But I mean, Sunday night? Yeah, it's a little different I guess. It'll be a little special."