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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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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 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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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.



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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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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.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

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!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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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.

Todd Archer on Twitter

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.



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