Dallas Cowboys Player to Rebound No. 2
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
By DeMarcus Lawrence’s standards, last season was a down year for the man affectionately known as “Tank”. After posting arguably the best 2-season stretch by an edge rusher from 2017-2018, D-Law fell back to earth in ’19, posting uncharacteristically low numbers in sacks, tackles for loss, hurries, hits, and overall “pressures”. While it wasn’t a poor season for Lawrence, it was a departure from the brilliance and productivity of previous campaigns.
It’s safe to say Dallas Cowboys fans expected more than five sacks from their “war daddy” last season – Especially since he was finally paired with certifiable threat in Robert Quinn, opposite him. But fans often make too much of unstable statistics like sacks and there’s reason to believe his numbers will rebound in 2020.
Why DeMarcus Lawrence will rebound
This past week we discussed how pressures, not sacks, should be the goal of the Dallas Cowboys defensive line in 2020. Pressures are more stable year-to-year and less dependent on outside factors. Pressures inevitably give way to sacks and turnovers, and as such, are responsible for a significant drop in passer rating. And since stopping the passer is the universal goal, pressures are just as effective as sacks when assessing the big picture.
Last season, DeMarcus Lawrence dropped in pressures but not as much as one would expect. Going from 66 in 2018 to 56 in 2019, Lawrence’s fall off isn’t nearly as significant as his sack numbers indicate. His win percentage also dropped only marginally, from 16.9 to 15.8 (numbers per Prof Football Focus). Again, not as drastic of a decline that his sack numbers indicate.
Simply by regressing to the mean we should see more sacks out of DeMarcus Lawrence in 2020. Add in Gerald McCoy, Aldon Smith, and (hopefully) Randy Gregory and you have a situation where teams won’t be able to focus as much on Lawrence as they have in the past. But perhaps the biggest factor in him having a rebound season, is the unpredictability of the defense next year.
Under Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli, the Dallas Cowboys were about as deceptive as a dog turd. They rarely blitzed and, aside from a few nifty stunts/games, telegraphed exactly what their intentions were. Mike Nolan is going to mix things up. His track record says he’s going to show multiple fronts and be a willing blitzer.
All of this indicates good things are ahead for Lawrence.