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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence’s League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Sean Martin

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

The Dallas Cowboys defensive line, expecting to add Defensive Tackle David Irving back into the rotation this week, faces a favorable match up against a Houston Texans offense that's allowed 17 sacks this season. Second only to Buffalo, the Cowboys will be relying on their defense once again on Sunday night, led by DeMarcus Lawrence at left defensive end.

Lawrence's 5.5 sacks through four games leads the NFL, as the Cowboys franchise-tagged pass rusher has picked up where he left off from a 14.5 sack performance in 2017.

Ahead of a pivotal game for the 2-2 Cowboys in prime time against 1-3 Houston, now felt like a great time to break down Lawrence's effectiveness getting to the quarterback this season.

Tank1

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Lawrence has been masterful in his own technique as always, but so too has been the execution from veteran Tyrone Crawford alongside him. Lining up at the 3T-DT position despite preparing to play DE this season, Crawford has played with great quickness and burst to make the Cowboys twist game a staple up front.

Getting to Cam Newton here in the Cowboys season opener, watch as Crawford knocks the right guard off-balance almost instantly before executing this T/E stunt to the outside. While the right tackle does a good job dealing first with Lawrence and then Crawford, it doesn't take long for Tank to make quick work of the guard and power his way into Newton.

Lawerence's commitment to rushing with power to the inside has taken his game to an elite level, making him one of the most unpredictable rushers in the league thanks to his added edge ability - seen in the next clip against the Lions.

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Lawrence was able to get to Matthew Stafford three times in the Cowboys most recent win, doing so cleanly here with a win off the corner. Catching the right tackle leaning to the outside just slightly, Lawrence takes advantage off the line to capture the edge while chopping his blocker's hands to finish the rush.

Notice the tackle's hand placement up high on the shoulder of Lawrence as he bends the corner, allowing him to continue directly into the path of Stafford. Defeating blocks in this way has become a signature of Lawrence's game, and his closing speed to finish around the quarterback is  yet another thing he does at an incredibly high level.

Tank6

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This next sack of Stafford is a fantastic effort from Lawrence. Again attacking the right guard with Crawford twisting to the outside, the Lions OL does a much better job handling this action.

Once the guard is able to disengage from Crawford, he's in good position to deal with a charging Lawrence. What Tank does so well here is recognize this early as he cuts to the inside, knowing immediately how he wants to attack the guard. Setting him up further to the inside, Lawrence again uses his chop move to disengage and counter back to the inside.

The speed at which Lawrence executes this move gives him as clear of a path as he'll have to any QB. Coming out of it with his usual balance and burst, Lawrence is on top of Stafford before the Lions' right guard has even turned around from off the turf.

Tank5

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Here is another win from Lawrence off the strong side edge. Though he's forced behind the pocket further than he'd like, Lawrence never gives up on his rush to get back to Stafford. His ability to record a third sack in this game is really set up by the slight diversion of his path around the corner.

By turning just slightly towards the inside on this arc, Lawrence gains leverage once engaging the tackle. Forcing the blocker's hands to his inside shoulder again, Lawrence is free to rip under the block and chase down another sack.

Tank2

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It's not just the Cowboys secondary that's benefited from the addition of Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. Leading a more aggressive, blitzing defense, it's Anthony Brown from his cornerback position that helps Lawrence get to Eli Manning here.

Running the same twist with Crawford, Lawrence catches the guard preoccupied with Tyrone as Saquon Barkley sprints to pickup Brown crashing on the blitz. This was Lawrence's cleanest sack of the season, and a shot you'll never see him miss.

Tank3

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Last but surely not least, here is Lawrence's sack of Russell Wilson in Seattle. The Seahawks did a good job managing the Cowboys pass rush despite their OL issues in this game by balancing their rushing attack. On this occasion though, Lawrence is left to running back Mike Davis lined up tight.

All Davis manages to do is push Lawrence across the face of the right tackle, who's left in terrible position to deal with him shooting the gap. Doing so while managing to "pick through the trash", Lawrence arrives with a blitzing Sean Lee to sack Wilson.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

When the Cowboys used the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence this offseason, they wanted him to prove he can string together consecutive dominant seasons at defensive end. Four games hardly makes a season for Lawrence, but it's been so far so good for all of the "Hot Boyz" as Lawrence leads the way with 5.5 sacks.

The battle for the Governor's Cup on Sunday Night Football is likely to be decided in the trenches. The Texans may have household names in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, but the Cowboys will rightfully take Lawerence's level of play over anyone right now - needing him to be a disruptive force against Deshaun Watson.

Tell us what you think about "Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence’s League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments
  • Harold Ellerbee

    Poor D.L.on the Dallas defence he has no help they are going to get him hurt unless some one elce starts to in prove…perhaps David Irving can help turn the tide….he may be the piece that starts this defence going forward,but if not I’m afraid the Dallas defence will fail in 2018.

  • Harold Ellerbee

    Now to the matter of the O.L. line of Dallas …Jerry quick get another big piece of beef to help this line still needs a lot of help…the loss of travis f is more than you thought…

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Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases

This week, Stephen Jones discussed the difficulties of making a trade, saying "it just seems like in the NFL trades are hard to make, to make it all come together for two teams".

The two teams that could be lining up to change that are of course Jones' Cowboys as well as John Gruden's Oakland Raiders. Yet another Raiders player has been in the headlines as a trade target, 24-year old Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

WR-needy Cowboys doing their due diligence on Raiders' WR Amari Cooper: https://t.co/pE2wmrzCXu

Playing at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys will have yet another reshuffled lineup at wide receiver, playing without Tavon Austin. Their biggest offseason addition to this unit was Allen Hurns, and he's been underwhelming with just eight catches.

Thus the Cowboys are reportedly doing their "due diligence" on Cooper, sensing the need for a mid-season acquisition at WR for the right price. The Cowboys ability to potentially find that price in a deal advantageous to them, given how the Raiders handled the departure of Khalil Mack in a trade to this Chicago Bears, is what makes this story relevant.

A lot has been said about Cooper since his name emerged as the latest player potentially out of the Bay Area. Whether you believe he's still an impact receiver with the potential to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2015 and 2016 or one that "doesn't love football," as some have been inclined to say, the former fourth overall pick represents an investment into the WR position that the Cowboys have not made in some time.

In those Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper averaged over 77 catches a season while putting up over 1,000 yards in both. The Raiders have used this to justify their reported asking price of a first-round pick for Cooper, something the Cowboys are not alone in their reluctance to give.

With Cooper, the Raiders are holding onto their last bit of relevancy. A reeling 1-5 football team that needs to maximize their return on trading Cooper, the Colts and Redskins are also following in the Cowboys footsteps by preparing as much as they can on the player.

Cooper has caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown through six games this season.

For as desperate as the Raiders are to jump-start their organization, the Cowboys should be just as desperate to add a threat like Cooper to their passing attack. Unlike the Raiders, they're in the hunt for a division title, something much harder to put a price on when it comes to the Jones' finalizing any deal for Cooper in the coming days.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30th, at 3 PM Central Time. The Cowboys will be two days into their bye week, not in action again after Sunday until November 5th.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases Ahead of Trade Deadline" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys WR Tavon Austin Skipping Surgery, May Return in 2018

A groin injury sustained last week against Jacksonville won't send Tavon Austin to injured reserve, at least for now. The Dallas Cowboys receiver has elected to forego surgery at this time, giving him a chance to return to action in 2018.

There was concern that Austin could land on IR initially following the Jaguars game, but he sought a second opinion this week. It appears that this new information was enough for Tavon and the Cowboys to decide that surgery can wait.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Sounds like WR Tavon Austin will not have surgery at this time after getting a second opinion on his groin injury. He could miss a few weeks, however. #cowboyswire

Austin should miss this Sunday's game with the Washington Redskins. He has been the team's punt returner this season and a useful tool on offense, playing mostly receiver but also lining up the backfield at times.

Despite his limited opportunities, Tavon is tied with Cole Beasley for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns in 2018.

How long Austin will remain out is unknown at this time. After the Washington game, Dallas will have their bye week and then host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.

Both of these are games that the Cowboys, feeling good after a blowout victory over Jacksonville, should be able to win without Austin. But they would certainly like him back for the Week 10 road game with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In Tavon's absence, Cole Beasley will likely field punts. We may see more of Deonte Thompson in the speed routes that Austin ran on offense, though Dallas could also finally see what recently returned Brice Butler has to offer.

With an expiring contract this year, Tavon will likely want to get back soon and trying to improve his stock for the 2019 offseason. Hopefully, he can still have a positive impact on his value and the Cowboys season in the weeks ahead.



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Terrance Williams: Details, Impact of 3-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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3 Current Starters Cowboys' Fans Hate, But Shouldn't 1

Terrance Williams was already missing games on injured reserve, but now the Dallas Cowboys receivers is going to lose some money as well. Williams was finally hit with a three-game suspension by the NFL, starting immediately,  for his public intoxication arrest last May.

Dallas placed Terrance on IR in Week 5 just a day before their game against the Houston Texans. Williams had been struggling with a foot issue since the offseason, which included a surgery that he hadn't fully recovered from.

Many were surprised that Williams wasn't suspended to start the season, given that his arrest occurred several months prior. But when charges were eventually dropped after Terrance took part in some required alcohol education courses, it appeared the league might be letting the issue go.

However, as Cowboys fans know all too well, Roger Goodell's NFL operates its own judicial system.

In Williams' case, the suspension will only result in lost game checks. Players still get paid when on IR, but Terrance will lose that amount of his $3.5 million base salary.

Because he can serve the suspension while injured, Terrance will still be eligible to be recalled from injured reserve in December after sitting the mandatory weeks.

The real issue for Williams now is how this event, and his general fall from grace in the Cowboys offense, will affect him in the next offseason.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Terrance is in just the second season of a four-year, $17 million contract he signed in 2017. If he's released after this year, Dallas would save $2.25 million of his scheduled $4.75 million cap hit in 2019.

Williams' cap hit isn't the issue by itself. That would be a bargain for a significant contributor in your offense, even if he was just the third receiver.

But Terrance appears to have fallen well below that spot on the depth chart. Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, and Michael Gallup are the top three receivers these days, and veteran Deonte Thompson has also been getting looks. Dallas also brought back Brice Butler a few weeks ago, though he hasn't really been worked in yet.

Not only that, but the Cowboys will have the option to recall Noah Brown from IR in just a few more weeks. He was one of their more intriguing young prospects prior to getting hurt.

Dallas could let Terrance come back next year to compete, hopefully with full health and less personal baggage. But after six seasons, they may be ready to move on to players with more room to grow.

For now, though, Terrance Williams is out of action and out some money. We'll see what the future holds.



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