Cowboys: Tyrone Crawford Has To Carry Load


The Dallas Cowboys recently signed defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford to a lucrative contract extension, but now he’ll have to earn every penny.

The Dallas Cowboys were probably wise to extend the contract of defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford in the hours leading up to Sunday night’s shocking comeback win over the New York Giants.

Crawford was selected in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Boise State. Many have felt that it was time for him to ‘breakout’ as the all-important three-technique in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 scheme.

At this point, I think that everybody is feeling that way.

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As Sunday night’s surprising win was unfolding, the Cowboys lost the services of 2015 second-round pick Randy Gregory, the phenom pass-rusher from Nebraska who experienced a Randy Moss-like free fall in the early portion of the draft. Gregory suffered an ankle injury that’s expected to keep him off the field for over a month.

That’s a real shame, because moments after Crawford scored his first sack of the season – just the fourth of his career – it was Gregory who came in virtually untouched to knock Giants quarterback Eli Manning to the ground a split second after he released a pass. New York rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers was pretty much clueless on the play that somewhat resembled the speed displayed during franchise sack-leader DeMarcus Ware‘s rookie season 10 years ago.

In addition to losing Gregory, offseason acquisition Greg Hardy won’t be available until the Cowboys line up against the New England Patriots on October 11.

So, in the meantime, Crawford has to play a critical role in both stuffing the run and rushing opposing quarterbacks.

Yes, Crawford’s job will get easier once Hardy and Gregory return to action, but for now it’s going to be Crawford and 2014 second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence who are charged with getting that pressure that the Dallas defense simply couldn’t generate last season.

Crawford ended up with the one sack and also three solo tackles, two of those for a loss, and a quarterback hit.

Not bad right after signing a five-year extension worth $45 million, which includes $27 million in guaranteed cash.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was quoted by with the following regarding Crawford’s new deal:

"He’s talented guy. He’s quick. He’s strong. He’s explosive. I think he’s playing technically better and better every day, but more than anything else he just has a relentless nature about him and it shows up every minute of every day. The best players I’ve been around have that same kind of mentality and that same kind of demeanor in everything they do."

There’s little doubt that Crawford is the ‘right kind of guy’ for the Cowboys. The franchise has been quite patient with the 6’4” and 290 pound lineman from the get-go.

Having played his rookie season in former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s messy and depleted 3-4 scheme, Crawford was playing the ‘other’ defensive end position that generally doesn’t notch a whole lot in the way of sacks – unless your name happens to be J.J. Watt and you play for the Houston Texans.

An Achilles injury heading into Crawford’s second year nixed his sophomore campaign as training camp began.

This is really just Crawford’s second season in Marinelli’s front and the former Broncos defender was already impressing the Cowboys a year ago with his transition to his current position.

Now, Crawford, ready or not, has to shoulder the load moving forward.

The Cowboys have bet $45 million that he can.

Next: Cowboys: Was It A Win Or A Loss On Sunday?

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