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David Irving Among Best PFF Pass Rushing Interior Linemen

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports

It's a huge year for Dallas Cowboys' Defensive Tackle David Irving. After two good seasons in which he showed the world what he was capable of, Irving will play the 2018 NFL season under a second-round tender given to him by the Cowboys' front office.

A decision that made Cowboys Nation afraid of another NFL team snatching Irving away seems to have paid off for the team. However, concerns surround the young player who's had to deal with a domestic violence investigation (which has been closed) and who's allegedly  "out of shape."

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Dominant interior defenders.

While offseason concerns are present, let's give credit where credit is due. Pro Football Focus recently tweeted its Top 5 interior defenders by "pass rush productivity."

Among said Top 5 is Cowboys' DT David Irving. Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins stand as the only two better linemen on the list with Cam Heyward and David Irving tied for third. Matt Idannidis  occupies the fifth spot.

According to PFF, pass rush productivity "measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks." Irving was able to rack up seven sacks in just eight games last season but his contributions to the Dallas Cowboys defense went beyond this simple stat.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

Splash Plays per snap - via @notJDaigle

Bob Sturm was able to put together a pretty interesting stat back in February which perfectly portrayed Irving's ability to disrupt as a defender. According to the "Splash Plays" stat, Irving was the second best defender on the Cowboys, despite being suspended for the first four games of the season.

It's more than clear that the team counts with one of the best talents at his position in the entire league. Right now, the question is: can he take the next step?

A good, productive year by Irving would undoubtedly result in a juicy contract for him, if not from the Cowboys, from other team. However, it's about time David Irving realizes where he's at in his career.

It's disappointing to hear that he's not practicing because he's "not in shape." It really is. Irving could earn himself the contract of a lifetime if he's willing to give his very best effort on the field. Sure, it's just the OTAs right now. But Irving is far from a proven veteran who can afford to miss offseason practices.

Perhaps this explains why no team in the NFL was willing to give up a second-round pick for Irving. The talent is clearly there. One has to wonder about Irving's commitment and work ethic.

As for the Cowboys defense, hopes remain that Irving will be one of the most important pieces next season. With him and Lawrence on the defensive line, the Cowboys can win the battle in the trenches both from the offense and from the defense week after week.

The defensive line will be one of the team's deepest and one that will have success under the leadership of Lawrence, Crawford and Irving.

However, Irving's time to step up doesn't being in September. It begins now. Once he gets back into shape, it's time for him to start grinding and start working on getting his next big payday.

The Cowboys want to make a Super Bowl run in 2018. They need a capable defense. With Irving and Lawrence playing lights out like they did last year, they're certainly closer to their ultimate goal.

Tell me what you think about "David Irving Among Best PFF Pass Rushing Interior Linemen" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sexcdex Xfact

    May 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Other teams do investigative work too
    Meaning :
    David Irving volatile relationship with his daughters mother is said to be well known by Dallas personnel, teammates etc
    Then there was the recent custody battle lined with a very serious domestic abuse allegation
    This is obviously what scared other teams away & allowed Dallas to tender what I personally feel (worth 1st round tender) only a 2nd round tender to Irvin
    Now PFF agrees with my personal assessment of David’s worth & I’m elated that not only has the investigation proved he’s not guilty of domestic violence buy that he’s suitable for dole custody of his daughter
    The only negative opinion I “could” have of D. I. is that he chose to ignore his professional health in the midst of all the baby mama drama when other professionals have used to have a motivated doubled-down stance in healthiness dispite life’s dilemmas
    I think the Cowboys have been playing well with the salary capped deficient recent years hand the owner dealt themselves with much salary next year to final secure a longterm approach to all their immediate & future positional needs

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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