The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has been something of an enigma this year. A rotation of guys, there is no one star, but collectively they have been getting the job done. They don't get many sacks, only four so far on the year. Yet, as OCC showed earlier today, they are doing enough in getting pressure on quarterbacks to make a difference. They have been giving up some running yards, but they tighten up when the opposing offense gets near the points. All in all, they have been a success, but they surely would like to get some splash plays. Some sacks, some forced fumbles, some bad decisions by quarterbacks. A trio of players may be able to help.
DeMarcus Lawrence is the big name, the Cowboys are waiting on the second-round pick who should be good to go for the Arizona game. The Dallas brass can't stop raving about how he looks on the practice field and they way he's transformed physically.
All signs point to rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence making his debut on Nov. 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. Lawrence, who fractured his right foot in training camp, returned to practice last week. Marinelli said the second round pick looked "quick and explosive."
"Lawrence had everybody frothing at the mouth a little bit out there last week," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "He has really improved his body during this time off. He’s used it to really have a lot of strength work. It’s something that he didn’t do as much [in college] as he’s doing now. He’s had quite a physical improvement."
Jerry went on to make a good point. The Cowboys really need a player who can get around the outside edge, that will force quarterbacks to move up in the pocket where guys like Tyrone Crawford and Henry Melton might get some sacks. Or if it is not those two, it might be a couple of other defensive tackles who should be returning soon.
Josh Brent has been working with the Cowboys while waiting for his suspension to end.
Josh Brent, who is participating in team activities while serving his suspension, will accompany the team to London in Week 10. He is then eligible to return to game action on Nov. 23 in New York.
"He adds something we don’t have in there too," said Jones. "He’s obviously strong, but Josh has got about 20 pounds worth of size that the others don’t. There are times that we really need that in the middle."
On top of all that, sources are saying that Amobi Okoye is finally going to practice this week.
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Amobi Okoye is expected to practice for the first time on Thursday, his attorney, Darin Morgan, told ESPN's Adam Caplan. Okoye is on the reserve/non-football injury list as he continues to come back from anti-NMDA encephalitis, a brain condition that causes memory issues and seizures and had Okoye in a coma for three months last year.
The Cowboys have been keeping him out of football while he has been working with Mike Woicik to recover his physical strength. Once they bring him to practice, the clock starts ticking on what they can do.
Once the Cowboys activate Okoye from NFI, they will start a three-week window in which he can practice but not count against the 53-man roster. At the end of that period, the Cowboys will have to activate him, keep him on NFI for the season or release him.
It's not often that a team will get potential playmakers back like this at one position group in the middle of the season, the Cowboys are lucky in that respect. The defensive line has been doing all it can to hold the line this season, but the addition of talents like Lawrence and Brent could elevate them to dangerous down the stretch.