The Dallas Cowboys defensive line looked better than many thought in the first preseason game. Zero sacks, but pressure, motor, and strong run defense show promise.
There will be a lot written about the Dallas Cowboys and their issues at backup quarterback, kicker, safety, and running back, but few are talking about how decent the defensive line looked. Sure, there were zero sacks, but there were some positives that show the front four could be better than first thought. Looking ahead, the depth may not be as dire as many thought heading into training camp.
One of the first things that stuck out when I rewatched the game was the motor some of the young guys displayed. Ricky Walker made a nice play on a trail and got involved on the tackle. Jalen Jelks had a play where he blew up Nick Mullens as he threw the ball. Dorance Armstrong had a tackle for a loss and was fairly disruptive. Even Taco Charlton looked solid, still not quite a first round pick, but better than he has.
This is a positive as the Cowboys have some health issues on the DL as well as a few suspensions in the works. They are going to need the depth as they may go “long” at that position due to the previous issues. They will need the pressure on opposing quarterbacks if they are going to look for a deep playoff push.
It wasn’t just the pressure that stood out, but they looked fairly good against the run. Sure, there was a play or two, but overall looked stout and swarmed to the ball. If they can maintain the same intensity and learn to mitigate a few things, this defensive front could be solid and deeper than we have seen for a few years.
The range of how many players the Cowboys will keep at defensive line hovers around nine or ten. DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, Antwuan Woods, Tyrone Crawford, Trysten Hill, Chris Covington, Kerry Hyder, Joe Jackson, Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton. not including Randy Gregory and Robert Quinn are all the common names. While there could be a name or two to switch out a few could find their way to the practice squad. This is not a bad problem to have if we are being honest.
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Right now Ricky Walker, Jalen Jelks, and Daniel Wise are all names that could pop up on the 53 man roster or practice squad. Some believe Jelks is in over Joe Jackson, either way, whoever is in the other could be kept as well. Injuries of course could change all of this, but I think Wise and Walker are potential developmental players for a year before finding their way to the active roster.
Defensive tackle still seems a little less than what many of us want, but they have some guys who could surprise. There is still not that big bodied clogger in the middle, but with the motors of those they have and linebackers, they should be able to game plan around not having the hulk in the middle.
The last three preseason games will be important to clear up the roster questions before the final cuts. Most of the top has been decided, but a few more showings by some of the others will make the decision harder than it looked to be at the start of camp. Someone will show up and get a few sacks, we just have to wait to see who it will be.
- Published on 08/13/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 08/13/2019 at 10:44 AM