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

Sean Martin

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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.

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.

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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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 wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.

One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.

Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.

This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.

Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.

Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.

Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.

It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges

Jess Haynie

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Marquez White

Player news this time of year is often not the good kind, and such is true of a new development with Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White. The second-year CB is facing aggravated assault charges for an incident last October.

According to the report, White displayed a legally owned firearm during a "road rage" incident.

Marquez,  a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys last season, has made his side of the story public. The following account was released by White to The Dothan Eagle, his hometown newspaper:

Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges

Cowboys CB Marquez White Facing Assault Charges 1

Naturally, we're in a wait-and-see situation as to how this case unfolds and impacts White's availability to the Cowboys in 2018. He is one of several players hoping to catch on at the bottom of the CB depth chart, having spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

This latest legal issue is especially unwelcome news after other Cowboys' recent problems. The team has seen David Irving get suspended four games for illegal substances and Terrance Williams' get arrested for public intoxication in the last two months.

Last year, Linebacker Damien Wilson was charged for aggravated assault in a somewhat similar situation to that of Marquez White. Those charges were eventually dropped.

What happens in White's case remains to be seen.



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Deadline for DeMarcus Lawrence Contract Extension Nearing

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team? 2

NFL teams have until July 16 to work out a long-term extension with any players currently under the franchise tag, which means the Dallas Cowboys have about a week to work something out with Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence. If deals are not signed and approved by the league by 4 P.M. ET July 16, the sides cannot agree to new contracts until after the 2018 season ends.

Along with the Lawrence, Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, Detroit Lions DE Ziggy Ansah, and Los Angeles Rams S Lamarcus Joyner have franchise tags slapped on them. All of them would love the long-term security a contract extension would provide, but they are all going to have to wait and see what the upcoming week has in store for them.

So, what will the Dallas Cowboys decide to do with DeMarcus Lawrence? Can they come to terms on a long-term contract extension before the deadline on July 16?

Luckily for Lawrence, the Dallas Cowboys seem open about hearing what he believes his market value is. That doesn't mean he will get his asking price, but the talks have to begin somewhere.

DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Rumors are already circulating that Lawrence is seeking a five-year extension and wants to make more money than Danielle Hunter, who the Vikings just signed to a five-year $72 million contract. That's probably more money than the Cowboys have in mind at this time. They may prefer to wait and see if he can replicate what he accomplished in 2017.

Last season DeMarcus Lawrence turned into the "War Daddy" Owner Jerry Jones has been seeking for the defense. He accumulated a career-high 14.5 quarterback sacks and finally played an entire 16 game season. But, even that may not be worth the money he is rumored to be seeking right now.

Hunter's five-your $72 million contract extension is the going price right now for someone of Lawrence's caliber, but there are other players in line for a big payday as well. Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, and Jadeveon Clowney are all in the same boat as Lawrence. What kind of extensions they receive could change the going rate, which could cause some hesitance on the Cowboys part.

Fortunately, I kind of doubt DeMarcus Lawrence is going to complain much if he has to play the 2018 season under the franchise tag. He will make a little over $17 million for one year and has a chance to cash in big time if he can replicate what he did a season ago.

Would you sign DeMarcus Lawrence to an extension before the July 16 deadline?



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