The Dallas Cowboys got long and fast but pass rush is still a concern of mine. I don’t like the idea of trying to manufacture pressure as I like to rely on a more traditional approach but it looks like the team is heading in that direction.
More blitzing leads to more turnovers but it also allows big plays. If the team does indeed reconsider, adding Olivier Vernon to help with this issue would be a good way to invest. Vernon is no longer the player that gave an elite Tyron Smith trouble when he played for the Giants.
Vernon is still a very nice player who can set the edge without issue. He still has the power to easily move tight ends but can more than hold his own when turning plays inside against offensive tackles.
Vernon is a veteran who still can be a problem when rushing the passer but what stood out to me the most is his ability to diagnose lateral runs that turn into quarterback bootlegs and apply instant pressure in order for the quarterback to make quicker decisions than they would probably like.
Vernon is tremendous against the run and although his pass rush isn’t where it used to be, he is still effective which allowed him to generate the second-best sack total of his career with nine sacks last season.
Randy Gregory looks like he prefers to have his hand in the ground so it wouldn’t hurt to have a productive veteran edge player who prefers to rush when standing is a nice defensive piece to have that fits the mold of long players.
The biggest knock on Vernon is how much has he recovered from a torn Achilles? An injured thirty-year-old player isn’t something many people would want to invest in but this move would be more about adding a player later in the season.
If the defense is struggling by midseason, bringing in Vernon who has rehabbed with the team could provide a needed spark. If the defense is humming, Vernon would only add to a strength. Vernon would likely be fairly inexpensive as opportunities for aging players thin quickly.
This setup would force the team to play some of the younger guys (coughs loudly Bradlee Anae) until Vernon is ready. The Dallas Cowboys could wait to see how he has progressed but that would no doubt open the door for someone else and possibly drive his price up.