Week 1 of Training Camp brought tragic news when we learned of Tyrone Crawford’s season-ending Achilles injury during noncontact drills. To make matters worse, Anthony Spencer is also out for the rest of training camp following recent surgery. While Spencer is expected to make it back before the regular season, Crawford has no hope of returning in 2013.
The Crawford loss – may be huge. We may never truly know how big of a loss Crawford is because this was supposed to be the season he stepped up and played significant time on the defensive line. Crawford has the versatility to play DE and DT and was sure to play “starters minutes” this season serving as the top backup in the rotation.
This also hurts the Cowboys in their planning for the 2014 season since everything pointed to Crawford replacing Anthony Spencer next year. Spencer’s price, age, and ability says this will be his last year in Dallas as the Cowboys look to get younger on their defensive line. Making a bold move like that gets considerably more difficult when Spencer’s replacement is unable to prove he can handle the Strongside Defensive End (SDE) role.
Sean Lissemore now becomes the top backup in the rotation and will be leaned on heavily. This defense line is undersized and will be struggling to stop the run. They need as many fresh bodies as possible if they hope to succeed.
Kyle Wilber projects primarily as a LEO rusher (a wide technique pass-rusher) like DeMarcus Ware and will be used on obvious passing downs or in case Ware gets injured. But since Lissemore will be used mostly as a DT, Wilber may have to expand his role out of necessity. Ben Bass is also an option but so little is known of him at this point it would be pure speculation to give him a roster spot, much less add him to the rotation.
With the added loss of Anthony Spencer for the preseason, expect the Cowboys to have all scouts watching training camps across the league, searching for depth on other rosters. The loss of Tyrone Crawford is big. It affects them this season and in their planning for next season.
Notable Free agents available are over the hill and far from glamorous but they still warrant attention. Keep an eye on these Free Agents:
DT/DE Richard Seymour (age 33) Great Leader in the locker room and able to play all D-line positions. Probably the best fit.
DE Juqua Parker DE (age 35) Juqua was very productive in a part-time role last season with the Browns. He is pretty one dimensional and isn’t very strong against the run. Want to hear what his former team says about him? Click Here
Will it be one of these veterans or will the Cowboys wait for roster cuts midway through camp to address the depth at the DL? Only time will tell but the longer they wait the fewer options they will have.
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