Dallas Cowboys defensive end Benson Mayowa doesn’t know the exact reason he got benched in the first place, but certainly doesn’t want to experience that again.
At a time when most expected defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to become the second-half player he’s been in the past, Mayowa has been the pleasant surprise for the Cowboys’ pass rush in recent weeks.
Mayowa has a sack in each of the last two games, including a strip-sack on Eli Manning last Sunday night against the New York Giants. That’s the type of production the Cowboys were hoping for when they signed Mayowa away from the Oakland Raiders in the offseason as a restricted free agent.
“I’ve just been blessed with some good looks really,” said Mayowa, who received a three-year, $8.25 million contract that included a $3.3 million signing bonus.
“I’ve been inactive and I don’t want to go back. I feel like I’m just doing whatever I can to stay on the field ‘cause when I’m on the field I feel like I can help my team.”
Mayowa started the first two games of the season at right defensive end and had two sacks through eight games. But the Cowboys then had him inactive for three straight games against Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli called it a “coach’s decision” as to why Mayowa had been passed over by Ryan Davis for those three games.
“I don’t know what happened. I don’t know, so I can’t speak up on that because I don’t really know what happened,” Mayowa said. “Whatever it is, you know, I didn’t go into any type of shell or any type of regretful mode. I just kept doing what I was doing and I knew I would be back on the field soon.
“I just don’t want to go back because I know what I can do. Me being on the field is going to help us I feel like.”
Coach Jason Garrett described it as “creating competition on your team.”
“[Mayowa] has worked very hard in practice, he earned the right to get an opportunity again,” Garrett said. “He’s certainly taken advantage of it.”
Mayowa returned to the D-line rotation earlier this month at Minnesota, and started against the Giants with Lawrence dealing with a back injury.
With the two sacks in the past two games, Mayowa now is second on the team with four behind only defensive end Tyrone Crawford (4.5).
Mayowa dismissed the notion that there had been added pressure on him considering he ranked as one of the bigger defensive acquisitions in the offseason.
“No, no, ‘cause everybody has their opinion,” said Mayowa, who had two career sacks before joining the Cowboys.
“Everybody can say what they want to say. For me, it was probably like a personal thing for me just to get sacks. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, they paid me all this money to be here.’
“I pressure myself more than anybody could ever pressure me, so I think it’s a little bit of self pressure.”
Mayowa feels like he’s adjusted to Marinelli’s Tampa 2 scheme well, and believes he’ll continue to make impact plays down the stretch.
“I’ve just got to keep going,” Mayowa said. “Just got to keep going.”