The Cowboys need a focused Randy Gregory in 2016
By Ben Grimaldi
The Dallas Cowboys need a focused Randy Gregory when the second-year pass rusher takes the field after his four-game suspension in 2016.
When the Dallas Cowboys lined up for first-team reps this week, one of the stating defensive ends was Randy Gregory. The second year pro will be suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy making that impossible against the New York Giants.
It was Gregory’s fourth failed test since the combine in February 2015; that’s not good. Another positive test means the talented edge rusher will miss 10 games, and then the Cowboys might not be so patient.
Right now, the Cowboys still believe in Gregory, just ask them. Head coach Jason Garrett spoke at length this week about Gregory maturing as a person, even if he has a long way to go. Jerry Jones has said similar things in the past.
However, Jones is more to the point with what the Cowboys need from Gregory and his talent; “We depend on him and we want him to do right.”
That tells you everything you should know about the Cowboys and how they feel about Gregory; they will “depend on him.” That’s a big risk considering the fact he hasn’t shown the ability to stay off marijuana and hasn’t recorded a sack in the NFL.
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Yet, the talent is there. Gregory is the best pure pass rusher the Cowboys have. No one has his explosive first step or the bend that he possesses.
It’s what helped Gregory register 16.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss during his time at Nebraska. His play should have made him a top 10 pick, but Randy’s issues with marijuana pushed him deep into the second round.
In the 2015 preseason, the Cowboys saw how good Gregory can be when he collected three sacks in three games. He was also disruptive against Giants in last year’s season opener until the high ankle sprain knocked him out for a few weeks. Gregory never returned to form after the injury and learning on the fly as a rookie pass rusher in the NFL is difficult.
Despite not having a sack, Gregory did have 16 pressures and was more active late in the year. And perhaps no one will benefit more from the offseason workout program than Gregory.
There is a ton of potential with Gregory, he just needs to focus on football. It might be easy to dismiss him because of the suspension, but he’s only 23 years old and is still learning how to be a professional.
You may not like it, but the Cowboys are putting their faith in Gregory because he is the best edge rusher on the team. It’s why they are giving him more leeway in spite of what’s happened.
Randy Gregory should to return that favor. To do that, the Cowboys need him focused on football; the results will follow.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi
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