Randy Gregory went into the season with some believing he had the talent to become the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year.
But he has yet to record a sack going into Week 14 at Green Bay. Sure, it didn’t help that he missed four games with a high ankle sprain sustained in the season opener, but even Gregory admits it’s taking longer than expected.
“I’m trying to play my role, I’m trying to do as much as I can with the amount of playing time I’m getting,” Gregory said. “I think I took a couple strides in the right direction the last couple of weeks, but I’ve just got to have a breakout game.
“I feel like it’s coming, I just don’t know when it’s going to come.”
Maybe it’s this week against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, as veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey hinted at earlier in the week. DeMarcus Lawrence had a breakout game against the Redskins on Monday night, so it might be Gregory’s turn.
Gregory has shown flashes of potential throughout his rookie season. He had three quarterback pressures before being injured in the season opener against the Giants.
Gregory returned in Week 7 for the Cowboys’ second game against the Giants, and had two more pressures. He seemed to be on the verge of a breakout game going into Monday night’s game in Washington, registering four pressures over a three-game stretch leading into it, but came away empty handed again.
But the coaching staff and front office still has high hopes for Gregory, and everyone feels it’s just a matter of time before he puts it all together.
“He’s a unique talent,” owner Jerry Jones said Friday during a radio interview on 105.3 The Fan (KRLD-FM). “He has a place in the defense, a serious place in the defense when it comes to getting that pressure without having to blitz. And he’s unique and he’s showing those things.
“He just has a gift. We want to utilize it and we’ve got the guy, Rod Marinelli, that can get him mentally ready to do what he’s got the physical and natural ability talent wise to rush the passer. He can just absolutely contort his body and get back there and get back there quick.”
Still, staying patient hasn’t been the easiest thing for Gregory. Every rookie, after all, wants to get that first sack out of the way.
“Practicing throughout the week, and then you get there on Sunday, you kind of get disappointed because you’re not doing as much as you thought you were going to do,” said Gregory, who played in 15 of 65 defensive snaps against the Redskins on Monday.
“Seeing other guys have a little bit of success, especially making it look easy sometimes, I feel like it’s hard, so it’s something tough to swallow.
“I’m a rookie, so I’m trying to take it all in and embrace it and hopefully look forward to the next game, next practice and go from there.”