3 Reasons the Dallas Cowboys need a veteran interior run-stopper

Damon Harrison #98 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Damon Harrison #98 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Mike Pennel #64 (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

They allow scheme versatility

Having a proven defensive big ol’ defensive tackle who can 2-gap is important for scheme versatility as well. Mike Nolan, who has a history of running 3-4 defenses, has indicated he’d like to run both odd and even-man fronts in 2020

Gone is the day of every single lineman unabashedly blasting through a single gap. 2020 will include some steady two-gap responsibilities. Big men will be responsible for holding their ground and reacting to the unfolding situation. This is almost a full-time requirement of an odd-man front nose tackle.

Related Story. Understanding 1-gap vs 2-gap defense. light

As we’ve said many times, the difference between a 3-4 and 4-3 isn’t really all that much. It’s 1-gap vs 2 gap assignments that matter. 3-4 doesn’t always call for 2-gap just like 4-3 doesn’t always call for 1-gap. But in Mike Nolan’s defense, we can assume the big guy in the middle of either scheme to be a 2-gap player. That’s why the Dallas Cowboys desperately need a big guy.

With only Antwaun Woods to 2-gap, Dallas needs extra girth inside to anchor both defensive fronts. Ideally, Woods would be able to rotate behind whoever Dallas brings in. Not because Woods isn’t capable, but because in the past he’s broken down from a higher workload (and the Cowboys run-stopping suffered).

To get the most out of Woods, they need to keep his snap count low. He has enough quickness to apply occasional pressure, so having an effortless big body like Snacks Harrison or Dontari Poe would be helpful to take the beating off Woods.