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.”
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.
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.