There was a time in the not too distant past when Dallas Cowboys fans knew that the team was going to be able to generate pressure on the opposing passer. You remember those days; players like DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, and even "Almost" Anthony Spencer all made trips to Hawaii based on their prowess along the Cowboys defensive front. Recent years have seen a dismal decline in production from the front seven. Now it looks like a return to form might be in order, and Jerry Jones could not be happier.
The front office has added some young talent on the defensive line over the past two seasons, and the boss is well pleased. DeMarcus Lawrence is on track to break out in his second season with the team and rookie Randy Gregory is impressing as well. To that duo the Cowboys have also added a veteran Pro Bowl caliber player in Greg Hardy. The result has been nothing but positive as far as the Cowboys owner, president, and general manager is concerned.
Jerry recently praised the progress of Rod Marinelli's merry band of rushmen on the G-Bag Nation show on 105.3 The Fan. He gushed with enthusiasm about what Hardy has added to the defense.
"I just can't say enough about him. He brings just exceptional, exceptional position flex. He can go inside or out. He gives you everything you want on your pass rush."
"One of the keys to pass rushing is to be quick and then about the time they try to adjust half-ass off balance, then you put that power to them and boy, you got him back at the quarterback. He is outstanding, and then he does that with a passion of some of the top passionate players we've ever had around here. Boy, he makes a difference." - Jerry Jones
You don't need to have a degree in Jerry-ese to understand that Jones considers Greg Hardy, even with his looming four-game suspension, to be a good return on the team's investment. It was not just Hardy whom Jones chose to single out. The younger pass rushers also received high praise from the man who signs their paychecks.
"Both of them are just absolutely essential. More importantly, they're just like the clouds parting and the light coming through in terms of what it means to our team and certainly our defense. Gregory is unique. And there's no question that he's getting some of the best coaching there is, Leon Lett and those guys, Rod Marinelli. It's just wonderful.
"The same thing applies to Lawrence. Lawrence is a better player than we thought he was when we drafted him. He's a better player than we thought he was during the year last year, even when he made that great play that he made in the playoffs. He's a better player. He's a force. And he's got a natural position at left end because of his unique ability to go from speed to power."
Jones has never been a man to use one or two words when he could utter a couple paragraphs but, based on what has been seen so far, the revitalized defensive line is worthy of every word spoken. The Cowboys pass rush appears to be light-years ahead of where it was at this time last season.
Likely we will never have a definitive answer to the age old question of "Does a pass rush make the secondary better' or "Does a great secondary make the pass rush better", but one thing appears to be certain, the Cowboys defense is going to be better in 2015 than it was in 2014. A large share of the credit for that will be attributed to the big guys in the trenches. No matter the cause, an improved defense sounds good to me, and I am not the only one. The only voice that ultimately matters in Dallas is pleased with the talent he has on the field.
"Boy, I'll tell you what, you put those two guys there and then you basically complement it with Hardy and I just can't tell you how good that sounds to my ears coming out of my mouth."