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Reel Talk: Could DeMarcus Lawrence Fill the Cowboys Void at Right Defensive End?

Sean Martin



Cowboys Headlines - Reel Talk: Could DeMarcus Lawrence Fill the Cowboys Void at Right Defensive End? 2

The Dallas Cowboys are in uncharted waters entering week 5 of their 2016 season, not only staying relevant without Tony Romo but thriving with rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

A lot of this credit goes to Rod Marinelli's defensive unit, which has managed to do its job of bending but not breaking despite playing without DeMarcus Lawrence - Dallas' best pass rusher.

Lawrence, the third-year player, will return this week off of his four game suspension to make his 2016 debut at home against the Bengals. How much he will play is still a great unknown, along with what position he will even line up at.

Where the Cowboys could use him the most is obvious, as Jack Crawford, Ryan Davis, and Benson Mayowa have not been getting the job done at the right defensive end position. Over on the left side, where Lawrence broke out in 2015, Dallas has Tyrone Crawford and David Irving to stack up against the run and provide some pass rush ability.

You can listen to this post on Bumpers from RJ Ochoa - Inside The Star Staff Writer, RJ Ochoa Show Host, and OchoLive Host!

In this edition of Reel Talk we'll study the tape from the last time DeMarcus Lawrence lined up primarily at RDE - 2014. We'll take a look at what the then-rookie brought to the table in order to predict where he could make the most impact this season after playing exclusively LDE in 2015.

Is That All You Got?



A far too familiar sight when watching Lawrence rush off the weak side edge was seeing him get steered around the back of the pocket thanks to incredibly predictable pass rush moves and inconsistent power and bend. On this play above, Lawrence tries to speed rush up the field to set up the left tackle, but fails to put himself in a position to work himself back inside to the football.

When things came around for Lawrence last season as a LDE, it was because he thrived on using his long arms to dominate right tackles at the point of attack and be a force against the run with the ability to get to the quarterback. Working on the right side, it has never consistently looked comfortable for Lawrence to use all of his skills and make an impact on the game.

As you'll see Lawrence again gets pushed behind the pocket on this next clip, I'll explain why there actually is some positives to take away from this play when it comes to looking ahead at Lawrence playing in 2016.

Lawrence's Progress



On this play, Lawrence puts the tackle out of position after holding the edge much better with a more powerful move off the snap. Unfortunately, he is not able to bend and change directions quickly to finish off the play to the inside, allowing the left tackle to recover and take him out of the play.

In 2015, we saw Lawrence make this play on the other side of the field numerous times, improving his agility and balance greatly. If he can translate that to his development as a RDE, Lawrence can absolutely have success at this position that is hampering the Cowboys' defense.



Here is Lawrence making a play against the run from the weak side, one that Cowboys Nation became accustomed to from #90 in 2015 on the strong side. Typically these plays from the left side by Lawrence began with him blowing up his blocker, but stronger left tackles have fared better against D-Law.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the Cowboys are in a tough spot when it comes to lining up their best pass rusher in DeMarcus Lawrence moving forward. While I do think he can be an above average RDE in this league over time, the Cowboys don't necessarily have the luxury to watch their 2014 second round pick try to continue to develop at a spot that may not suit him.

While the need at RDE is glaring, Lawrence proved to be a long term answer at LDE last season. For a team that has struggled to find consistency across the entirety of the defensive line, that certainly should be worth something.

Wherever he plays, the Dallas Cowboys simply have to hope Lawrence is ready to make a big impact. Of course, his biggest play to date with America's Team was the one below, coming off the right edge for this crucial sack of Matt Stafford to seal the 2014 NFC Wild Card game.


Use the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts on where DeMarcus Lawrence should line up moving forward for the Cowboys. You can also email me about this edition of "Reel Talk" at

Tell us what you think about "Reel Talk: Could DeMarcus Lawrence Fill the Cowboys Void at Right Defensive End?" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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