The off-season is coming to an end as training camp nears. A place that gives meaning to the saying Iron sharpens Iron.
This year won’t be any different as there are plenty of battles on both sides of the ball. However, there is one position that stands above the rest of them.
Last season fans witnessed a change on the defensive side of the ball that finished with 26 interceptions (Most in the league), and allowed 59.5% of completions (third best in the league). Many would say this is credited to an improved secondary, but it all starts with the battle in the tranches.
Now the loss of Randy Gregory may seem devastating at the moment, but Dallas made sure to bring in some reinforcements to replace his production. On top of the new guys, there are a few others ready to take the next step in becoming key pieces to this defense.
Here is where the battle begins.
Now after Dorance Armstrong signed his two year extension it’s safe to say he’ll have the first shot at the starting job. Fans may still be grieving about the Gregory loss, but Armstrong shouldn’t be counted out so quickly. With eight less starts than Gregory, Armstrong finished with only one less sack (5), and five less QB hits (12). It also helps that this will be his second year under Dan Quinn’s system. The impact of another year with the same coach could very well be the difference that solidifies him as a quality starter.
Dante Fowler Jr. is one of the new guys in town. The former third overall pick in 2015’s draft hasn’t had the career path he dreamed of thus far, but there have been flashes of high potential over the past few seasons. His last season with the Rams, Fowler played along side Aaron Donald to which he contributed 11.5 sacks. The past two seasons with the Falcons, Dante started 19 games and finished with 10 tackles for loss, 16 QB hits, and 7.5 sacks. Now in Dallas he has the chance to play opposite of Demarcus Lawrence or Micah Parsons at times, meaning more than plenty of one on one opportunities to disrupt an offense.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn working out Ole Miss DE Sam Williams at his pro day
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 30, 2022
Dallas also decided to address the defensive line in the draft this season by adding defensive end, Sam Williams, of Ole Miss. This rookie will be in an uphill fight this season, but his college resume says he’s up for the task. In his final year in college Sam posted 4 forced fumbles alongside a 12.5 sack season that earned him a spot as First Team All-SEC. Now fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats in hopes of seeing Sam replicate that level of play in a Cowboys’ uniform. His hunger makes him a real threat to take playing time from the veterans.
There are many other players gunning for playing time this time around. However, there are only a limited amount of snaps, and those are reserved for the best. This war between the defensive ends will continue to heat up as the season gets closer.
For the moment this is the perfect time for fans to take a step back and take a deep breath. This has all the makings of a calm before the storm that is the 2022 NFL campaign.
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