Dallas Cowboys

Latest on DeMarcus Lawrence, Josh Brent

The Cowboys defense has exceeded expectations so far and should only improve with more help on its way.

The defensive line should get a boost with the returns of rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and suspended defensive tackle Josh Brent getting closer.

Lawrence, who fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and was placed on injured reserve, can begin practicing this week and return to game action Nov. 2 against the Cardinals.

The Cowboys are hoping Lawrence gives them more of a pass rush presence, which is why they traded up to draft him with the 34th overall pick.

“He was certainly doing some good things before he got hurt,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re optimistic about his future and his ability to contribute this year. But his job is to get himself healthy, get himself going again, get his feet underneath him and trying to improve as a football player.”

Brent, meanwhile, is still serving his suspension to get reinstated into the league, as he’s been out since his December 2012 drunken driving accident that took the life of teammate and friend Jerry Brown.

Brent, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter, has been able to workout and attend team meetings the past two weeks and will continue to do that. He’s eligible to begin practicing in Week 9 and could return to the field as early as Nov. 23 at the Giants.

“He looks good,” Garrett said. “Losing some weight, making progress.”