Dallas Cowboys: Will Dorance Armstrong have a breakout season?

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

To say that Cowboys Nation is disappointed in the Dallas Cowboys this offseason is an understatement of most epic proportions. Cowboys’ fans from all over the world have hit social media to discuss their disdain about the Jones family, in particular Stephen Jones, and his frugal spending habits.

We all witnessed how the Dallas Cowboys unceremoniously traded their Pro Bowl wide receiver to the Cleveland Browns for late round picks, released their starting offensive tackle La’el Collins, mishandled Randy Gregory’s contract and allowed him to walk to Denver, and sent left guard Connor Williams and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson off without an honest attempt at replacing them.

Although the upcoming draft gives the Cowboys fans some glimmer of hope, losing the aforementioned players and not replacing them has made this fan base irate. Something that’s certainly not helping the situation is how Stephen believes Dorance Armstrong, Jr can replace Randy Gregory’s production somehow.

The Dallas Cowboys lost Randy Gregory but believe Dorance Amstrong, Jr can match much of Gregory’s production.

Despite having one of the best offenses in the NFL (31.2 points per game), it was the rise of the Dallas defense that propelled them down the stretch last season. They led the league in takeaways with 34 (26 interceptions, 5 int td’s, 8 fumble recoveries) and could match up against virtually any attack the NFL threw at them.

Nobody saw it coming. For the first time in years, Dallas had a ball-hawking, opportunistic defense to match its high octane offense. The stars were aligning.

if Stephen truly believed Armstrong matched Gregory’s production, why didn’t he offer Armstrong the same amount of money he offered Gregory? Not even Stephen believes his own logic.

And when you combine edge rushers DeMarcus Lawrence, Gregory, and ultra-talented linebacker Micah Parsons, Dallas finally had the recipe for championship-level defense. This trio of “War Daddies” was special, with Armstrong playing a pivotal role as an up-and-coming edge rusher in relief.

But now that Gregory is in Denver, Armstrong is being handed the starting spot opposite Tank. Fans and critics alike are wondering if this is the breakout year for Armstrong everyone’s been waiting for. Or will Stephen Jones regret losing Gregory over some “sus” contract language?

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Stephen firmly believes he made the right decision when he re-signed Armstrong to a two-year, $13 million deal. In 2021, Armstrong had his best season to date by recording five sacks in 13 games and was third on the team in sacks behind Gregory and Parsons. Further, Armstrong had five sacks to Gregory’s six sacks and will be 25 years young in June compared to Gregory who turns 30 in November.

To paraphrase, Stephen said on the radio show105.3 the fan that he believes Armstrong’s production is right there with Randy’s because of last season’s numbers (two less quarterback hurries 23 to Gregory’s 25). This is the standard and barometer Stephen uses to justify Gregory’s departure and the re-signing of Armstrong.

Okay, on paper, Armstrong and Gregory resemble the same type of player, but when watching them in action, you see two entirely different types of players. Gregory’s impact hits literally harder. According to Next Gen Stats,  Gregory caused five turnovers due to pressure last season, that tied Gregory with the most in the league.

Plus, Pro Football Focus ranked Gregory 10th with all pass rushers when it came to pass-rush grade. In 326 pass-rush snaps, Gregory had 14 quarterback hits compared to Armstrong’s seven quarterback hits in 328 pass-rush snaps.

Maybe Stephen is solely looking one thing but not doing his due diligence in other areas to make that statement. Because if Stephen truly believed Armstrong matched Gregory’s production, why didn’t he offer Armstrong the same amount of money he offered Gregory?

Hmmmm…Not even Stephen believes his own logic.

Sidenote: However, there are fans who side with Stephen and are happy Gregory is no longer on the team because of his lengthy suspensions, undisciplined play against the San Francisco 49ers, and his age. But because of Gregory’s suspensions, fans must remember that Gregory doesn’t have the normal wear and tear on his body like your typical every down edge rusher.

As for Armstrong, he’s a solid player whose career stats are 7.5 sacks, 64 solo tackles, and two FF (forced fumbles). Next season, I expect Armstrong to increase his sack totals and improve all the way around as a complete edge rusher. Armstrong did have a career year behind the dynamic trio of Parsons, D-Law, and Gregory.

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As a result, there’s hope. But what Stephen cannot do is make asinine comments and expect the fan base to fall for it. Even Hall of Famer Michael Irvin said Dallas is trying to win Super Bowls with role players.

Like most Dallas Cowboys fans, we’re all rooting for Armstrong to take the next step because we’ve only seen him perform and produce as a top role player. And with Gregory no longer on the team, hopefully Armstrong can supersede Gregory’s production and for once, prove Stephen is right!

  • Published on 04/22/2022 at 12:58 PM
  • Last updated at 04/22/2022 at 13:17 PM