The Dallas Cowboys, much like other teams around the NFL have players that are more important to the organization than others. That is simply the sad truth of the National Football League.
I like to think of these players as being irreplaceable. These are the types of players that can pretty much ruin a season if they have to miss any length of time due to an injury.
Unfortunately, this is something that we as Cowboys fans have recently had to deal with and something that can hopefully be avoided in the upcoming 2016 season.
I recently compiled a list and wrote about 5 Cowboys players that are irreplaceable, but as hard as I tried I couldn't think of one defensive player that is irreplaceable.
I'm not saying that the Cowboys don't have players on the defensive side of the ball that wouldn't be missed if they were injured. I'm just saying that I couldn't think of one player that would dramatically hurt the defense if they were to miss time because of an injury.
There were several considerations, but ultimately no one that I thought qualified enough to be considered irreplaceable. I personally think it has a lot to do with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and how he is able to compensate when some of his players are injured.
In fact, Marinelli is perhaps the sole reason why Jerry Jones and Company haven't invested highly on the defensive side of the ball with high draft picks or money. They believe he is able to bring out the best in players and that is probably true to a certain extent, but also one of the reasons why I probably couldn't think of any one individual defensive player that is irreplaceable.
Here are a few of the Dallas Cowboys defensive players that I considered.
There is no denying that Sean Lee is arguably the best defensive player on the entire team, but during his time in the NFL and even dating back to college he has had a hard time staying healthy.
Unfortunately, this is why I couldn't justify putting him on the list as being irreplaceable.
We have already seen the Cowboys find ways to compensate for Lee's absence and that is one of the main reasons why linebacker Rolando McClain is on the team.
Lee is a difference maker when on the field and raises the playing level of the entire defense, but I couldn't in good conscience say that he's irreplaceable.
Rolando McClain is a frustrating player because when he's on his game he could be one the better middle linebackers in the entire NFL, but it's those other times where he seems to just disappear that makes them so unpredictable.
McClain was mainly considered because he does have to be game planned by opposing offensive coordinators and with perhaps the exception of Sean Lee, he is really the only true MLB on the Cowboys roster.
The majority the Cowboys linebackers seem to fit better as candidates to play on the weak side, but not #55.
The drop off from not having McClain in the lineup would be immense, of course this is considering Sean Lee remains on the weak side. Anthony's Hitchens has shown promise, but he's not the same caliber of player as Rolando McClain.
The reason I considered Crawford as irreplaceable was because I don't think there is another player on the Cowboys roster that can step in and play the 3-tech as well as #98.
Crawford wasn't quite as productive in 2015 because he was battling through a shoulder injury, but I'm expecting big things from him in 2016 playing next to Cedric Thorton.
Do you think any Dallas Cowboys defensive players are irreplaceable?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions so that we can discuss this topic further.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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