Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving wasn’t at practice on Wednesday. Maybe he was celebrating his latest honors as the NFL tabbed him the NFC defensive player of the week.
Irving forced three fumbles, including a strip-sack, and batted a pass down in the Cowboys’ 30-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Irving tied a franchise-record for most forced fumbles in a game, joining DeMarcus Ware who did it in 2005.
“To be honest, I surprised myself,” Irving said on Tuesday. “I wasn’t expecting to do all that. It’s a great honor. I got in there and, at the end of the day, helped my team. That’s the best part, knowing that your teammates enjoyed what you’ve done.”
But Irving knows the bar has been set high for him now. That marked his breakout game in his second season in the league. The Cowboys signed him off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad last season, and he recorded a half sack and two tackles for loss in 12 games.
Irving played sparingly in the first four games this season, and didn’t record any stats of note. He missed the Week 5 game against Cincinnati as he recovered from concussion-like symptoms.
“It felt really good to get back out,” Irving said. “I missed it. I was sitting out watching everyone else play [against Cincinnati], doing nothing, feeling useless.”
But he responded in a big way against the Packers and is ready to be held to that standard by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
“That’s definitely the standard that Marinelli is going to hold me to,” Irving said. “Just keep bringing it. … I’m probably going to get cussed out a lot, but Marinelli is going to hold me to it I’m pretty sure.”