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“I Wasn’t Nervous”, Randy Gregory Anxious for More After Preseason Debut

For some members of the , ten plays is likely all they needed to see played against the Bengals for the team's home debut on Saturday. The Cowboys came out of week two with plenty of scares, potentially losing starters , , and even for the regular season opener.

For , ten snaps wasn't nearly enough for a player making his return to a real game for the first time since January 1st, 2017. Gregory's lengthy process has already turned the former pick into a Cowboys success story, with the team now focused on having him reclaim the right defensive end position.

In doing so on passing downs against the Bengals, Gregory played his first game at since December of 2016 ( threw a touchdown to in this game), and clearly looked like a player enjoying every second of playing in front of his home fans.

Gregory did not officially show up in the box score, but did have this would-be sack blown dead on a false start. This play is just one example of many where Gregory was able to “rush the half man”. This means he attacked the outside shoulder of the left and reduced his blocking surface area.

The bend and finish ability wasn't quite there with Gregory yet, but this explosive first step paired with a noticeable increase in upper body strength is a great starting point.

When Gregory wasn't in the game, and took the majority of snaps on the weak side. On the above play, Gregory and Crawford were on the field together, with Crawford reduced to the 3T-DT position.

Gregory ends up the furthest up field of any Cowboys linemen, and still hustles back into the play to make a hit away from the ball. It's this youthful energy that the Cowboys have seen Gregory turn into before, with reason to believe he can do it again.

With Crawford and Armstrong also looking good at Gregory's position, the Cowboys can keep him fresh. This will almost surely mean more than ten snaps a game for Gregory, which is where his added upper body weight becomes important.

Durability is not the latest concern Gregory wants to bring to the team that's never faltered on wanting his talent, and personality, to be a part of their culture. Without a legitimate sample size to work with, it's difficult to say that Gregory will be “the best he ever has”, but having a chance to get reps in the two more games puts him well ahead of the curve.

The Cowboys should be licking their lips at the prospects of a week one game in Carolina, with the Panthers already losing two starters on a shaky .

There will be another time to discuss even more of the nuances inside what the Cowboys saw in Gregory out of Nebraska. For now, Gregory's long path back to has him contributing as a first team defensive end at , backing up this status with a high-effort preseason debut.

Without even hitting a yet, Gregory is a heartwarming story that the NFL — and the Cowboys from an outsiders point of view — could use more of.

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
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 every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Ole Resinhead

Man! I am happy as hell to see ol randy out there!!!

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