Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (70) in action against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Tyrone Crawford: 'I Prefer Playing Defensive End'

After an NFL Draft that left the Dallas Cowboys with only one immediate impact defensive player in Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys are relying on current players who are returning from injury now more than ever. And the key piece to revitalizing this 8-8 team could very well be injured defensive end Tyrone Crawford.

The Cowboys defense ranked dead last in the NFL last season. And this offseason brought upon the exodus of All-Pro defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. In response, Dallas signed All-Pro defensive tackle Henry Melton and defensive end Anthony Spencer. And that was despite both players coming off major season-ending injuries themselves.

But it’s Crawford return that I believe has the Cowboys defensive coaches the most excited. The 2012 third round pick out of Boise State suffered a devastating Achilles injury during the first full day of training camp last year, which landed him on the dreaded  Injured Reserve list before the season even began. In a recent interview with Gina Miller, Crawford seemed cautiously optimistic about his rehabilitation.

“My injury is coming along well. I’m doing a lot of running, sprinting and cutting. I should be back by OTA’s. But, you never know.”

One of the things that has the Cowboys coaching staff excited by Crawford’s return is his positional flex. They believe he can play any position along the defensive line and be effective. But the coaches are still deciding where they want to plug in the third-year player. But when asked, Crawford already knows which position he’d like to play.

“Preferably, defensive end. but if it’s defensive tackle, I can get down there and play fast…(But defensive end) is what I played in college. And that’s what I started learning in junior college.”

Then Crawford said something interesting towards the end of his interview with Miller. When asked if he’s ready to replace a great player like Ware, he respectfully responded:

“Oh yeah. I’m definitely ready. I’m ready to do whatever these coaches ask of me. Like I said, DeMarcus Ware is huge shoes to fill. But I’m definitely ready to step in. I know they are not going to put me at right end. But if they did, I’d be ready to step in there and do the best I can, make things happen.”

So, there appears to be one position the Cowboys coaching staff isn’t considering Crawford for: right defensive end. With the addition of Spencer and Lawrence, that’s not exactly breaking news. Still, Crawford is the same player that the departed All-Pro Hatcher said could be a Pro Bowler on this defense. One thing is for sure: Crawford must play a critical role on this defense if Dallas is going to get over the postseason hump in 2014.

Watch the entire interview below. And our thanks goes out to That Sports Girl for posting the interview.

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Tags: Dalals Cowboys Gina Miller That Sports Girl Tyrone Crawford

  • James

    My Opinion For Starting D Line Is, Lawrence, Bass , Melton, Crawford!

    • ctcowboy1968

      I really like Bass. Especially his rookie year as a UDFA. But he has never played other than the preseason. I can’t see him starting this year. We don’t know anything about this guy. My bet is that he is a rotational player.

  • David

    Where are all the mock drafters and bloggers that had Dallas taking Jernigan, Kony or Nix. That was just terrible knowledge of Dallas drafting philosophy and player evaluation.

    • Michael Davis

      Yeah they don’t eat crow very well

      • David

        No they don’t.

  • Kenny

    Stevie, just once, please, be positive. Sorry they didn’t draft Manziel but I think the team’s gonna be ok.

  • BradAustin

    Sorry Big Boy…move over to the “1″ and like it. Marinelli already said Crawford is good enough to start anywhere on the line and constantly praises his ability. It’s guaranteed he’s starting Spencer is a Pro Bowler. If healthy he starts easy. Melton…Pro Bowler, starter. And Lawrence was chosen to start at rush end and pressure the passer. Where does that leave Crawford? Starting at “1 tech”.

    There are no other players in the DL mix that have the talent to start over our prize draft pick, Melton, a healthy Spencer, and Crawford. That simple. And RM is no fool, he knows this very well and said he will start the best 4 DL wherever he has to for them to be on field together. Mincey, McClain, Hayden, Bass, Selvie…all rotational caliber players, not solid starters. Not on teams that want to beat Seattle or SF this year.