With so much emphasis being placed on the Dallas Cowboys offensive line this offseason; perhaps the defensive line has been lost in the shuffle. It was believed to be a concern for the Cowboys until Jerry Jones said after the draft how he thought the defensive line was a strength.
While many people seem to think Jones is way off in his assessment, and it wouldn’t be the first time, there are rumors that could help ease the concerns of Cowboys fans everywhere. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports that Tyrone Crawford is pushing to become a starter.
I don’t know how the Cowboys, or Watkins, could make that claim now that since no practice or game has been played since the Cowboys 2012 season ended but the feeling is that Crawford will make great strides this year and could become a starter. Watkins believes it will probably happen in 2014, when the Cowboys might lose some depth along the line.
However, Crawford’s time as a starter might come at some point in 2013. Jay Ratliff’s arrest will make him a candidate for a suspension from the league and the Cowboys could insert Crawford into the starting lineup. The team could also start Sean Lissemore for Ratliff but he appears to play better in fewer snaps so the second-year pro might be a better bet to start.
Crawford was a solid contributor in his rookie year and got better as the season went on. He also got more playing time during the second half of the season when the Dallas defensive line was decimated by injuries. By the time the 2013 season arrives, Crawford will have went through the Cowboys offseason program and gotten plenty of reps during training camp to become a better player.
The Cowboys hesitation to draft or sign anyone of significance for their defensive line might be a sign they believe in Tyrone Crawford’s ability. It appears his time as a starter might be coming sooner than most people think.