Cowboys fans were rightfully excited when they received news that Dallas traded for nine-year veteran Robert Quinn for nothing more than a 2020 sixth-round pick and a half-eaten Snickers bar.
Quinn is a quality defensive end who also has experience at the linebacker position. However, injuries and inconsistent performance over the last several seasons has significantly lowered the value of the former 2x Pro Bowler. Although, if the back half of Quinn’s 2018 season is any indication, the veteran pass rusher may be poised to have a resurgent season under Rod Marinelli’s leadership.
The re-signing of defensive end Demarcus Lawerence to a 5-year deal is beneficial to Quinn as well, who will undoubtedly seek to capitalize on the double-teams focused on his new superstar teammate.
Here is what Quinn showed us in 2018
Impressive Closing Speed: On numerous occasions, Quinn would find himself in situations where he was effectively eliminated from making a positive impact on the play. In one moment he was locked in combat with the backside tackle, and in the next, #94 could be seen streaking across the field for a chase down tackle. His speed is his greatest asset. Quinn is frequently forced out of rushing lanes by much bigger defensive tackles, but his speeds allows him to get back into the play to stockpile quarterback pressures.
Utilizes Hands Effectively: In addition to his speed, Quinn uses his hands to make up for his lack of overpowering muscle. He is comfortable with swim moves and is able to use them to split the gap between the tackle and guard. When closing on the quarterback he frequently goes for an over-the-shoulder club to generate fumbles. Quinn compiled two forced fumbles in 2018, bringing his career total to 22. His most impressive of all being his week 6 forced fumble on the Dolphin’s 1-yard line vs Chicago. Although Quinn may no longer be the player who once amassed 19 sacks in a single season, he is still capable of answering the bell when necessary, delivering big plays to help his team.
Aware of the Football: As painfully cliche as it may sound, keeping an eye on the ball is important in any sport. Playing defensive end in the NFL is no different. This trait, coupled with his closing speed makes him a two dimensional player who can stop the run as well as rush the passer. He can frequently be found making tackles in the middle of the line (where a defensive tackle would typically make the play). This is because Quinn’s ability to constantly follow the football enables him to move laterally and clog the rushing lanes. This trait could be beneficial to the Cowboys if they find themselves short staffed with run stoppers in 19′.
Ultimately this acquisition by the Cowboys is indicative of their entire off-season strategy to pick up low risk-high reward veterans. Like Randall Cobb, Quinn has the capability of swinging the outcome of a game in 2019. While a return to his 2013 dominance is doubtful, expecting Quinn to surpass his 6.5 sack total from 2018 is perfectly reasonable.
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