Dallas Cowboys Need This Player To Take Off
The Dallas Cowboys need one player, in particular, to strike quickly in 2015: DeMarcus Lawrence.
For all the talk of when free-agent acquisition Greg Hardy will be eligible to play football again, it’s clear he won’t be lining up against the New York Giants to start the season – at least barring an unprecedented decision from the NFL.
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We can speculate all we want regarding how soon ’15 second-round draft pick Randy Gregory will stamp his name on a Dallas pass rush that, as of last season, was certainly lacking.
The Dallas Morning News, just this week, as asked the question of whether or not defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford could end up being a superstar in the making.
Yes, all of the above players need to make solid contributions as soon as possible, but I think that Lawrence may very well hold the biggest key to how this defense performs early this season. In Lawrence, there’s no suspensions, serious injuries or anything else that should keep him out of opposing backfields once the regular season begins.
A fractured foot suffered during training camp last season kept Lawrence from seeing any action until Week 9, a loss to the Arizona Cardinals which also saw quarterback Tony Romo sitting on the sidelines with another back injury.
By this point in the season, Dallas fans were completely engrossed with whether or not the fine season being delivered by Romo would even be able to continue, let alone when some half-forgotten guy from Boise State was going to rescue the pass rush. The possibility of a second-half regular season collapse seemed more likely than not.
It wouldn’t be until the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs that Lawrence finally showed his stuff – he literally had zero sacks heading into the postseason, and not much else.
Yet, when called upon, Lawrence delivered one of the biggest sacks in Cowboys history on a do-or-die 4th down for the opposing Detroit Lions, who were desperate to keep the chains moving during a potential game-winning touchdown drive. This followed what could have been among Dallas’ biggest postseason fumbles ever, right up there with Leon Lett in Super Bowl XXVII and also Romo’s botched field goal snap during the 2006 Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Lawrence is currently listed at 6’3” and 265 pounds, according to ESPN.com.
When Lawrence ran his 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine almost 18 months ago in Indianapolis, he weighed just 251 pounds, sporting the look of a classic “tweener” coming out of Boise State that was likely to play outside linebacker in somebody’s 3-4 alignment.
Instead, the Cowboys traded up to grab the former Broncos pass rusher in the second round after having made the switch back to their historic 4-3 base defense.
At this point, Lawrence has the added weight that rookie Gregory has yet to put on, and this is why Lawrence is poised to become Dallas’ lead pass rusher to open the season.
A few weeks ago, legendary defensive tackle Randy White had good things to say about Lawrence via Brandon Geerge of DMN:
"The guy can move like a cat. He’s pretty impressive out there. He can be a game-changer out there if he can continue to improve and play the way he did at the end of last year. I think he’s going to be a great player for them."
Always good to hear a Hall of Fame defensive lineman’s opinion about a young player like Lawrence. It’s especially nice to hear something like that said about a guy like Lawrence who has but 2.0 sacks in the postseason, zero in the regular version.
But moving ahead, last year’s playoff performance and all other comments from anybody else really don’t matter. The rookie honeymoon and subsequent patience afforded to players like Lawrence are all gone.
Now it’s time to show up, because America’s Team is really going to need it early on.
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