Of those who are undervalued as Dallas Cowboys’ players, it seems Tyrone Crawford may be near the top. He’s really more important than you think.
Playing for Dallas Cowboys has its benefits and its flaws. When you play great, you are worshiped. But when you don’t, you can be pushed aside and ripped apart.
Defensive end Tyrone Crawford is someone that has been pushed aside. What many fans don’t realize is that he is more important than you think.
Not every player develops into a star player in sports, and that is perfectly fine. Some players can become a key role player for their team. Every team needs those players if they want success.
Behind every great player or team in sports history are role players. Look at slot receiver Cole Beasley for the Cowboys a couple of years ago.
How about wideout Julian Edelman during the New England Patriots dynasty? While Edelman has been a key contributor to the team for years, he was never looked at as a star, and never made one Pro Bowl in his career. Without him being a great role player, would the Patriots be as good as they were?
Yeah, having role players are important to the success of your team. First, I feel like many people forget about Crawford’s impact on the team since he missed pretty much all of the 2019 season.
Much like Edelman, Crawford was never a star player. He has been someone that the Cowboys could rely on to get the job done well and a good price.
Part of what makes him valuable is his ability to play on the inside and the edge of the defensive line. He has moved along the line ever since being drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft.
In the 2018 season, Crawford played in 15 games. In them, he sacked the quarterback 5.5 times while making 34 tackles. This was while playing only 62 percent of the defensive snaps.
This is a great contribution for someone playing a fill-in role along the defensive line. No, he is not likely to lead the league in sacks, and that shouldn’t be expected of him. What you get from Crawford is reliability, power, and leadership.
He is someone that will work well with rookie defensive linemen Bradlee Anae and Neville Gallimore. This while working on the opposite side of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, making the most of the attention given to Lawrence.
If Crawford remained healthy last season, I am sure the run defense would have been better off. Something that doesn’t show in the basic stats, is his ability to keep gaps closed, forcing the running back to look elsewhere.
Heading into the 2020 season, it looks like Crawford will be getting the starting snaps. That is unless one of Randy Gregory, Aldon Smith, or both get reinstated into the NFL. In that case, the snaps will likely be split between the trio, with Crawford getting the biggest piece of the pie.
Regardless of what happens, Crawford is a very important piece to the defense. The duo being reinstated or not will only make him a lot more important, or slightly less important.
This is because if the duo is brought back, they will be depth pieces. No matter what, Crawford is the lead guy opposite Lawrence unless someone takes the spot from him mid-season.
It is a big year for the underrated and underappreciated lineman. With a better supporting cast and a bigger role, the 30-year-old could have a career year in Dallas.