Just the other day, The Ringer named one "x-factor" for each NFL team. For the Dallas Cowboys, they named recently reinstated Defensive End Randy Gregory. It's definitely a good choice as Gregory has amazing ability to bend the corner and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It's probably not wise to have such huge expectations for Gregory at this point in his comeback, but if he were to have that kind of an impact, it would absolutely transform the defense.
Here's what The Ringer's Danny Kelly had to say about Randy Gregory and the Dallas Cowboys.
"After missing all of last year to suspension following a series of violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, Gregory has been fully reinstated and looks ready to get his career back on track. The 2015 second-rounder has grabbed just one sack in 14 games, but still boasts the length and first-step explosiveness to develop into a productive pass-rusher. With David Irving set to miss the first four games to suspension and the team’s 2017 first-rounder, Taco Charlton, still developing, a Gregory breakout would be just what the Cowboys’ defense needs to contend in a tough NFC East."
Danny Kelly - The Ringer
Kelly's reasoning is sound. The Dallas Cowboys could really use another pass rusher, especially early in the season with Irving set to miss the first four games. If Gregory can get on the field and give pressure in the passing game, it'll help everyone along the defensive line and the pass defense to get the defense off the field.
There's still a lot to see out of Gregory before the team would be willing to give him a significant snap count. Not because Tyrone Crawford is a much better player, but because Crawford is a trusted player.
Gregory will thankfully have a full training camp and preseason to get up to speed for the team, but I could see them limiting him to situational pass rushing early in the season. Situations like second and long, third and long, or when the team has a sizable second half lead.
Otherwise, it'll still be Crawford on the field a lot until they feel they can trust Gregory with a big snap count.
If Gregory is the Defensive X-factor, What About the Offense?
In this analyst's humble opinion, it's Allen Hurns.
We know that Cole Beasley is going to get his targets; he's Quarterback Dak Prescott's favorite weapon through his first two seasons, but one thing we saw in 2017 is when team's take Beasley away, it makes things difficult on Prescott and the offense. Dak needed another wide receiver to step up and make plays in 2017 and for a lot of it, he was left wanting.
If Allen Hurns can stay healthy and on the field, he should be able to open things up for Cole Beasley in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field.
Hurns is a lot to handle out of the slot. His route running, toughness, and catching ability make him a tremendous weapon for Prescott in the middle of the field. If they can build a rapport during training camp and again, if Hurns can stay healthy, he'll be a consistent weapon in the passing game.
For the offense, Dak Prescott, and Cole Beasley to flourish, the Dallas Cowboys need Hurns to be a guy that can get open and make plays. They need someone to keep the defense from being able to double Beasley underneath.
So far, the early returns in training camp have been impressive and Hurns has the look of a guy who could lead the team in receiving in 2018. For both Gregory and Hurns, however, staying on the field is a huge factor.
Who is your X-Factor on offense and defense heading into the 2018 season?
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight
According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.
The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.
Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.
This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.
Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.
Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.
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