Cowboys Melton 1-On-1: 'Down To The Wire'
Henry Melton was signed early this offseason to be the heart of this Dallas Cowboys defensive line after losing DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. However, fans have yet to see Melton in actual game action because he has been nursing minor injuries that have held him out of all preseason games thus far.
And yet he remains this team's best defensive-line hope of getting upfield, of being a playmaker, of giving the group a chance of success.
Melton's inactivity could change on Thursday when the Cowboys face the Broncos in their final preseason game. Melton returned to practice on Monday, running with the first-team defense, giving Melton and fans alike hope.
"It might come down to the wire," Melton told us when asked about the possibility of playing in the final preseason game.
That's in contrast with owner Jerry Jones saying Melton -- the Grapevine native and University of Texas product who returned "home'' this offseason on a team-friendly contract after a great career start in Chicago -- would "definitely'' play this week.
The owner's desire to see Melton in action is understandable. So it's Melton's wish to listen to his own body as he comes off serious knee surgery that cost him last year ... and works through the groin problem that has limited him this summer.
Regardless of his status on Thursday, Melton assures fans that he "feels great." He also feels good about his younger teammates on the defensive line.
"Honestly, all of the young guys are looking really good. Everyone is," said Melton. "Everyone's working really hard and getting better every week."
The youngsters are certainly getting plenty of playing time with Melton, Terrell McClain and George Selvie all missing some time with injuries. But despite Henry's positive outlook on his young mates, in fact, none of the D-line starters have recorded a single sack this season. That fact may worry some fans, but Melton has confidence that they'll get on track.
"None of the starters have a sack in the preseason," said Melton. "But that's because were saving it for the regular season," Melton said jokingly.
One reason that Melton has so much faith in the struggling defensive line is the big guys that they go up against in practice every day.
"To me this offensive line looks like one of the best in the league," Melton said when discussing Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith. "They're all physical, they've got good footwork and they work really hard in practice. Going up against them every day is only making me better."
While Melton says he feels like he's better than ever, he hasn't set any personal goals for himself in the 2014 season. Instead, he's focused on the entire team.
"I don't have any personal goals," Melton said. "I just want to help the team get into the playoffs and make a deep run."
If he wants to get to the playoffs, it's all going to start with him and his fellow defensive linemen making plays. Against Denver on Thursday, maybe. Against San Francisco on Sept. 7, definitely.
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