The Dallas Cowboys had the worst defense in the NFL in 2013. Yesterday, the team’s plans to improve that defense took a giant step backwards. During practice late Tuesday, the Cowboys 2014 second round draft pick, Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, fractured his foot. The rookie who bragged recently that he believes he would record 10+ sacks this year, will now most likely start the regular season on the bench.
The injury happen during individual drills with offensive lineman Tyron Smith at the Cowboys Training Camp in Oxnard, CA on Tuesday. As Smith wrestled Lawrence to the ground, the rookie’s right leg got caught awkwardly in the grass. Lawrence was carted off the field and an X-ray later revealed the injury. He is expected to miss 8-12 weeks due to the foot fracture. This makes Lawrence’s expected return to the team sometime in late September, at the earliest.
Tyron Smith on the play that injured DeMarcus Lawrence’s foot: “Just as I was pushing him, his ankle got caught up in the grass.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 30, 2014
With this latest blow to the Cowboys defense, which is still struggling to recover from the season-ending knee injury suffered by starting middle linebacker Sean Lee earlier this offseason, free agent defensive end Jeremy Mincey appears to be the next man up on the defensive line. He’ll bookend the line with defensive end George Selvie, who was a breakout star for Dallas last season after being signed off as a free agent at this same time last year.
Generating pass rush will now be an even bigger topic for the Cowboys heading into the regular season. Behind Selvie and Mincey at the position are Tyrone Crawford, Ben Bass, Caesar Rayford, Ben Gardner, Martez Wilson, and former Pro Bowler Anthony Spencer. The latter is coming off microfracture knee surgery and could possibly land on the team’s regular season Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP). If so, Spencer would land on the Cowboys bench until Week Seven (October 19th).
This latest injury places a big wrinkle in the Cowboys plans to improve their defense this season. And the responsibility of placing a quality defense on the field still falls on the shoulders of Dallas’ new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Based on his short history with the Cowboys, the passionate Marinelli seems like the perfect choice for helping this team move past this most recent obstacle.