Sports

Cowboys living with uncertainty on defense trying to bounce back from dismal 2013 showing

  • Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, collides with Dallas Cowboys strong safety J.J. Wilcox during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

    Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, collides with Dallas Cowboys strong safety J.J. Wilcox during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dallas Cowboys strong safety Jeff Heath (38) tackles Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro (6) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

    Dallas Cowboys strong safety Jeff Heath (38) tackles Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro (6) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dallas Cowboys defensive end Martez Wilson (56) sacks Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

    Dallas Cowboys defensive end Martez Wilson (56) sacks Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)  (The Associated Press)

The Dallas defense is still missing starters halfway through the preseason and will lose cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the first four games of the regular season because of a drug suspension.

The uncertainty isn't helping a unit trying to replace its two best players after a dismal 2013 showing.

Coach Jason Garrett says the Cowboys "have to live with the reality" of starting the season without Scandrick and the uncertainty surrounding other key pieces.

Brandon Carr should play for the first time this preseason at Miami on Saturday night. Fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne's outlook isn't as clear because of a shoulder problem, and newcomers Henry Melton and Terrell McClain aren't likely to play at defensive tackle because of injuries.

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