Dallas Cowboys can unveil their own version of NASCAR package

Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

A person can ask me the simplest of questions regarding football and it will often trigger certain memories about the Dallas Cowboys. That’s probably no different than some of you. But, how many memories do you keep from other teams, specifically divisional rivals?

I can’t imagine those memories are good but one thing that always stuck with me was what the New York Giants did when they went on their improbable Super Bowl runs. Around that time, Tom Brady was still mortal. But I couldn’t bring myself to root for either side. I watched the game casually, but something stuck out to me: the Giants’ “NASCAR package.”

The NFL is a copycat league, so wanting what another team had is fairly normal. The issue with copying the Giant’s blueprint is, collecting a group of four men with extraordinary pass-rushing talents is nearly impossible. One of the biggest reasons the Giants beat Tom Brady twice in the Super Bowl was their ability to harass the quarterback without bringing extra rushers.

This allowed them to have extra bodies in coverages and force Brady to hold the ball longer than he probably wanted to. The speedy front four the Giants employed was dubbed the NASCAR package. Their longevity, or lack thereof, is probably the biggest reason why they aren’t remembered like the “Fearsome Foursome” or the “Purple People Eaters”. Forget them all you want, but they are probably sitting somewhere right now thinking back to their Super Bowl victories just the same.

NASCAR Package (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

You can thank then Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell for the idea and name, which came from his North Carolina roots. What they did was put both starting defensive ends (Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck) inside in obvious passing downs. That allowed ends Jason Pierre Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka to handle the edges. And, the NASCAR package was born.

I believe it was the inside pressure that really affected Brady, even though he is a maestro at sidestepping rushers in the pocket. If grade school teachers taught geometry in classrooms by using Tom Brady’s pocket movement, U.S. testing scores might improve across the country. Brady is that good. Even then, the so-called “GOAT” couldn’t avoid this extremely difficult and often forgotten power move by New York. It just so happens that the Cowboys can now replicate this front.

Cowboys have the tools to create their own version of the NASCAR package with Gregory, Gallimore, Lawrence, and more

The return of Randy Gregory gives the Cowboys defense options. The best option for this package is to leave Gregory in his normal spot. Gregory has given left tackles fits all season long. Even when he doesn’t get the sack, his ability to disrupt plays is the reason he will get paid this upcoming offseason.

DeMarcus Lawrence is the opposite starting defensive end, with very good pash-rushing skills. His ability to play the run just as well as the pass is very unique. As good as he is outside, the NASCAR package would start with kicking him inside so that the interior linemen have to deal with his deadly euro-step cross chop. He is also faster than the other defensive tackles on this roster, so stunts might allow any pressure to hit home faster. With Lawrence inside, he is going to need an interior, pass-rushing partner. This returning player is going to provide a massive boost, albeit with question marks. Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore is that player.

Gallimore has the ability to collapse a pocket, and I undoubtedly think he can push the middle of an offensive line better than anyone else on this roster. I was looking forward to seeing him in the trenches this year, but injuries have robbed him of the majority of his second season. Gallimore is a bigger and thicker player than we are accustomed to seeing, but he also might be the most athletic defensive tackle on America’s Team. If Gallimore is indeed on a pitch count this weekend, I hope he is used more on passing downs.

That leaves the only reason this package would be available to these Cowboys. Rookie superstar Micah Parsons is already a great pass rusher. I would even venture into saying he is in the conversation of being the most feared pass rusher in the NFL. Sure, Pittsburgh Steelers‘ T.J. Watt and Cleveland Browns‘ Myles Garrett fans will argue, but an offense has to account for wherever Parsons is lined up. His ability to rush from any spot makes him more dangerous than those other guys.

So… Gregory, Gallimore, Lawrence, and Parsons are the Cowboys’ version of the NASCAR package. Speed rushers that can pin their ears back and get after the quarterback can lead to mistakes by an offense. If Gallimore shows rust upon his return, rookie defensive tackle Osa Odighezuwa isn’t a bad option either. In fact, I believe the incoming reps Gallimore is about to receive should help keep Odighezuwa fresh and more effective throughout the game.

This group’s ability to rush the passer would also allow the team to put extra guys in coverage. Linebacker Keanu Neal is a former safety, so I would leave him as the lone linebacker and bring in another defensive back of your choosing. A dime package with a pass rush is how some of the latest Super Bowl winners have caught lightning in a bottle and won it all. This could also force teams to keep extra bodies in line to help curb the pass rush. But, fewer route runners equals fewer options for the quarterback. This could allow Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to endlessly rotate different coverages in order to cause more turnovers.

The NASCAR package is a great name, but it is also synonymous with the New York Giants. I am not emotionally attached to it, so I will be on the lookout for a rebrand for the Cowboys. The “Stampede Rush”, “Rowdy’s Rushers”, or “Stallion Stunt” are some of the names I’ve heard. But those don’t quite have the same ring to them.

Either way, this four-man combination could be the reason for a long post-season run. A memorable nickname wouldn’t hurt either, as reputations can psychologically affect an opponent.  The Washington Football Team should get the first crack at defending this powerful group this weekend.