Early success is never guaranteed in the National Football League, and for pass rushers, who go from facing collegiate offensive linemen to plying their trade against some of the most polished pass protectors on the planet, it can be an uphill batter during the first season or two in the league. Randy Gregory, the Dallas Cowboys second-round draft pick this past spring, is looking to prove himself to be the exception to the rule. For a team that suffered from a depleted pass rush one year ago, Gregory's success, along with that of teammates like DeMarcus Lawrence and Greg Hardy, has brought a great sigh of relief.
The rejuvenated corps of defensive lineman has been able to bring some heat thus far. We must remember that this is still preseason football, but Rod Marinelli's Merry Band of Rushmen are showing signs of getting it done across the board and the rookie from Nebraska has been leading the way for the Cowboys.
"It's weird, because of all the sacks I've had since the preseason started have been ones where they weren't the greatest rush, but as a D-line collectively we had a good rush and I was able to fall back into the play." - Randy Gregory
It is good to see the rushmen winning as a unit. For years Dallas fans were treated to a one-man wrecking crew with DeMarcus Ware providing the heat on enemy passers, but that type of effort did not put rings on any fingers in the Metroplex. Teams that could avoid the pressure from Ware were able to experience success against the Cowboys. Gregory and his compatriots are looking to change that situation. It does not matter who cashes in as long as one of them is able to get the quarterback.
Individual success is great but team success is greater.
"Hopefully we can get a lot more of those in the season. Hopefully my pass rush will get even better and I can get some one-on-ones where I beat the guy and get to the quarterback."
Gregory is working hard at his game, striving to be the pass rusher that was a likely top ten selection before off the field concerns forced him into the second stanza of the NFL Draft. He is the type of player that could develop into the next great Cowboys pass rusher. It will take work, more of the same type of effort that Gregory has put in so far to repay the faith that the franchise placed in him when they took a gamble on him. Before the name of Randy Gregory will be spoken of in the same sentence as Harvey Martin, Randy White, "Too Tall" Jones, and DeMarcus Ware will come many hard days of effort on his part.
The building blocks are there. The Dallas Cowboys, and Gregory himself, have saw the first fruits of that effort with three sacks over three preseason contests. Life is about to get real in the NFL, at least where Randy Gregory is concerned and he is working hard to be ready to answer the bell. He intends to bring a little bit of attitude to every step, an attitude inspired by his recent draft day tumble.
"I'll always play with a chip on my shoulder. Anyone who plays in the trenches has to have a chip on their shoulder.I definitely bring that to the table."
That is what Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys thought they saw in Gregory from the start.