Dallas Cowboys: Could Tyrone Crawford have a career year?

Tyrone Crawford #98 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Tyrone Crawford #98 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

Tyrone Crawford may be primed for a career year with the Dallas Cowboys…

The Dallas Cowboys recently signed Everson Griffin to a one-year deal to start at defensive end. With Griffin taking what was formerly Tyrone Crawford‘s starting position, could a position swap and smaller snap count result in one of the best years of Crawford’s career?

This week was good for Cowboys fans. The under-the-radar signing of Everson Griffen surprised, but more importantly, relieved many fans of their questions surrounding the front seven of the team. Then training camp started on Friday giving fans and the team more reasons to be optimistic for an upcoming football season with highlight moments from rookie WR CeeDee Lamb and second-year safety Donovan Wilson.

However, the biggest beneficiaries of training camp every year are those recovering from injuries. Not only is there joy in returning to the gridiron with your favorite people, but also it is another milestone cross off in what is a giant recovery process.

No better example of this would be Tyrone Crawford. The eight-year veteran is coming off of a hip injury that ended his season after four games in the 2019 season. His loss was significant as a versatile piece on the defense and as a leader in a locker room that shortly after his injury, seemed to lack an identity.

Not often known for finishing sacks, Crawford is a solid power pass rusher who will selflessly take on double teams so the rest of the line can rush against single man protection. He has also been a good presence in run support using his big body and good strength to anchor and disengage blockers to make tackles at the line of scrimmage.

The discipline with which Crawford plays with is a welcome sight for every team and it was clearly missed in a season where the Dallas defense was notably bad against the run.

Now a new season is upon us and it seems the talent on the defensive line has upgraded quite a bit. After Maliek Collins‘s departure, the Cowboys signed DT Gerald McCoy, signed NT Dontari Poe, drafted DT Neville Gallimore, and re-signed NT Antwaun Woods on a restricted free agent tender. These additions were necessary as the depth chart only had Trysten Hill and Crawford on it.

The expected starting lineup for the defensive line projects to be:

Defensive Ends: DeMarcus Lawrence and Everson Griffen

Defensive Tackles: Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy

Each player on this list, with the exception of Dontari Poe, is an above-average to elite pass rusher.  For that reason, on passing downs, Lawrence and Griffen will likely stay at 5 technique and McCoy will likely stay on the field playing as a 1 technique. This allows one defensive tackle to occupy the 3 technique position; the candidates are Crawford, Neville Gallimore, and Trysten Hill.

Having plenty of previous experience, Crawford makes the most sense. Considering his most productive pass-rushing season in the league was when he primarily lined up at 3 technique, Crawford once again makes sense. Considering he is the most technically sound of these three rushers, Crawford once again makes sense.

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Being able to use his strength and explosiveness off the line against some of the worse athletes on the offensive line has previously yielded positive results for the Canadian. Now if Lawrence or Griffen need a break on early downs, an edge grouping of Aldon Smith and Tyrone Crawford along with Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy would certainly hold their ground on rushing plays while allowing for pass rush creativity with stunts, crashes, and other delayed blitzes.

While a lack of volume could potentially put a cap on Crawford’s tackling stats, it could result in a more energized pass rusher. For a team with a developing secondary, this could have a serious impact on how much the secondary struggles this season. A team getting to the quarterback often results in positive plays for the defense.

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It isn’t often a team has two quality pass rushers at either edge spot, but it seems the Cowboys might have a list extending to at least four players. Tyrone Crawford’s versatility along the line was always cherished by the previous staff, however, it seems this is the year where it will matter the most.

  • Published on 08/15/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 08/15/2020 at 07:33 AM