Dallas Cowboys: Re-energized Randy Gregory will have breakout year

Randy Gregory #94 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Randy Gregory #94 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

From the beginning, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory had a rocky start entering the NFL. Once Gregory failed a drug at the 2015 NFL combine, Gregory’s stock crashed harder than the stock market of 1929.

Gregory went from a being a top-10 draftee to falling all the way to the Cowboys at pick 60. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys saw the risk but took a chance on Gregory because his potential was limitless.

But after multiple suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a re-energized Gregory is ready to have breakout year in 2021. Here’s why…

The Dallas Cowboys edge rusher, Randy Gregory, is due for a successful season.

See, Gregory is yet to play a full season and this is the first time since his rookie year that he can participate in a full off-season of OTA’s (Organized Team Activities), mini camps, and a training camp.

The sole reason for Gregory having a breakout year is because of what he showcased last season during a 10-game stretch. With 182 pass rushing snaps, Gregory registered 25 pressures, four sacks, three forced fumbles and eight quarterback hits.

Gregory is 28 with a body as young as a 24-year-old, and his body is nowhere near its prime. Gregory is like that promising minor league pitcher that has finally being called up to the big leagues for good.

Pro Football Focus uses the PRP (pass rushing productivity) to measure pressure that is created by using a per-snap metric weighted for sacks. Gregory stood out because he returned to the field in week 7. But from week 7 to week 13 of the 2020 season, Gregory ranked third in the league in PRP leaders behind elite edge rushers Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers and Denico Autry of the Indianapolis Colts.

To put this into perspective, Gregory had statistically outperformed more notable players like Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Romeo Okwara of the Detroit Lions during that span. Wow! That’s elite company and speaks volumes about Gregory’s talent, work ethic and commitment.

With such a long layoff, it’s proof Gregory never took a day off from being the best that he could be.

Fellow edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence led Dallas’ defense with 6.5 sacks, followed by Aldon Smith (5.0), and no other defensive lineman had more than 2.5 sacks. All of those linemen played an entire season but couldn’t register the impact like Gregory did with a limited snap count as a third down pass rusher.

This is not a knock on D-Law because he played ferociously on every down as the primary edge rusher, and constantly fought off double teams with mediocre help. D-Law can play, but having Gregory for a full season will benefit him greatly. The PRP just proves the freakish athleticism of Gregory.

Another reason for Gregory having a breakout season is because of the new, defensive 4-3 scheme implemented by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Unlike the previous regime that didn’t use Gregory as an every down edge rusher, Quinn will more than likely pencil in Gregory as a day one starter, and head coach Mike McCarthy has guaranteed it by ranting and raving about Gregory’s last season performance.

Quinn was the defensive coordinator and architect of the “Legion of Boom” during the Seattle Seahawks heyday. Quinn knows firsthand that the “LOB” couldn’t showcase its maximum potential without a stout defensive line featuring ultra-talented edge rushers to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Besides having the opportunity to participate in a full offseason, Gregory’s body is well rested and doesn’t have the regular wear and tear that goes with being a seven-year veteran. Gregory missed the entire 2019 season after playing in only 14 games in 2018 (Gregory finished the season with six sacks, second on the team).

Gregory missed a whopping 30 of 32 regular-season games during the 2016-17 seasons because of his lengthy suspensions. Statistically speaking, Gregory has played in 28 out of a total 80 regular-season football games since 2015. However, Gregory has produced amazing results with limited games under his belt as an edge rusher.

Gregory is 28 with a body as young as a 24-year-old, and his body is nowhere near its prime. Gregory is like that star minor league pitcher that has finally being called up to the big leagues for good.

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Finally, Gregory no longer has to worry about being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy because the league improved their rules about players  use of marijuana and won’t be suspended if they test positive. Simply put, Gregory was missing games because he likes to smoke marijuana to calm his anxiety, not for recreational fun or conduct detrimental to the team.

Gregory has all of the aforementioned elements working in his favor to succeed, an owner/coaching staff that believes in him, and the prime opportunity to use his God-given talents without an interruption.

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It’s been a long journey for Gregory, and we all get to witness a re-energized man have a well deserved breakout year. BOOM!

  • Published on 06/10/2021 at 11:53 AM
  • Last updated at 06/10/2021 at 11:53 AM