The Dallas Cowboys are entering their sixth season back in the 4-3 defensive alignment and it’s time to fill the A-Gap with a run stuffer like Dexter Lawrence.
The Dallas Cowboys failed year after year with an undersized nose guard like Jay Ratliff in the antiquated 3-4 alignment brought to town halfway through the Bill Parcells administration last decade. It resulted in some of the biggest runs ever given up by Dallas Cowboys defenses, especially at ‘The House That Landry Built.’
Those 3-4 days are gone, but the Dallas Cowboys should have finally reached a point where it’s understood that a bigger and stronger interior of the defensive line is necessary moving forward.
While the defense played outstanding football in 2018, we ended seeing exactly how deficient the defensive line could be against a physical ball-control offense that likes doing exactly what America’s Team likes to do: Pound the rock.
If you’ve followed the Clemson Tigers very closely over the last few years, you know all about the force the program has become in utilizing big, strong defenders upfront. The result has been two national championship victories over the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama, the latter being an embarrassing blowout win for the orange and blue.
Dexter Lawrence is a huge reason for last season’s success, and he needs to become a stable on the Dallas Cowboys defensive line if the opportunity presents itself.
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Lawrence missed Clemson’s final two games in the College Football Playoff, but he’s played a huge role in helping the Tigers reach the final in two of the last three years.
This is a massive player who stands 6’4” and weighs somewhere between 340-350 pounds. Even slimmed down some in an NFL conditioning program, Lawrence will still play in the 320-325 pound range, which should be more than enough for what the Dallas Cowboys need.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli seems to prefer defensive tackles that are a little smaller and quicker, and this formula could certainly work. The Dallas Cowboys championship teams of the 1990s were manned along the defensive line by plenty of talent and numbers that never exceeded 300 pounds.
Same is true of Marinelli’s great Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses after Y2K.
I can see the benefits of going in either direction, but I don’t think size ever hurts so long as it can move well enough and it has the required stamina to not take plays off.
In this case, younger players like Lawrence are the way to go. Lawrence doesn’t even need to be an every-down player, but his presence on running downs would be a big plus to a defensive line that’s short on both numbers and talent heading into the 2019 regular season.
The next time the Dallas Cowboys line up against Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams, they should have a defensive line that features Lawrence upfront waiting to get acquainted.
Hey, another guy on the roster named Lawrence has worked out pretty well, right?
- Published on 04/17/2019 at 11:00 AM
- Last updated at 04/17/2019 at 07:34 AM