DeMarcus Lawrence is a defensive leader for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only is he one of the elder statesmen with seven full years of service, but he’s been a vocal player in and out of the locker room for most of that time.
He’s never lacked confidence in himself or his team, and it’s perhaps for that reason he felt the need to remind the media members on hand that playing “shorthanded” is nothing new to his team.
DeMarcus Lawrence on whether Cowboys can function while shorthanded due to COVID-19: “We played without Dak Prescott last year. We’ll be able to function.”— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 24, 2021
With five players out due to COVID-19 protocols, as well as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Cowboys are, well, shorthanded heading into their final preseason game against Jacksonville.
Rather than lament that fact, Lawrence is leaning on past experience by citing the 2020 season. While that might not have been a great year for Dallas, going 6-10 and losing Dak Prescott in the fifth game of the season, it does force a team to endure hardship and, hopefully, fortify itself.
You can’t run from injuries. Whether it’s your perennial Pro Bowl left tackle, your starting right tackle, your Pro Bowl quarterback, or all three (and then some), you have to play out the games on your schedule and take your lumps.
That’s what Dallas did in 2020. Whether that pays dividends moving forward or not, only time will tell, regardless, Lawrence’s statement is hardly surprising. He understands the team needs to rebound and he’s trying to avoid the kind of built-in excuses that would poison the well in Dallas.
DeMarcus Lawrence on not playing preseason: I'm at the point of my career where I'm trying to win a Super Bowl & if that means me going out & playing in the preseason so be it, but I think the team don’t think that’s necessary so they tell me to be ready for Wk 1 & I'll be ready.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 24, 2021
While Lawrence himself has not yet played in the preseason, he understands that the tone needs to be set by the team’s leaders. For the offense, that’s Dak Prescott. For the defense, it’s guys like Lawrence, and to an extent, even young bucks like Micah Parsons.
While Jacksonville awaits Sunday night, the games that actually matter are still a couple of weeks out, thankfully. If Dallas is fortunate, they’ll get back to full strength before then. If not, Lawrence had better hope last season’s experience pays off for his team.
DeMarcus Lawrence on being quiet as a rookie: "If you ain't making no plays, you shouldn't say nothing. Shoot, I think that's the memo throughout every locker room around the league. As a rookie, I wasn't making no plays, so I kept my mouth closed."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 24, 2021