After a “record-breaking” game, David Irving got a game ball, NFC defensive player of the week honors, a pat on the back and a good grade. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman also received an interesting observation from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
“Oh, Dino,” Marinelli said, using Irving’s nickname. “You messed up.”
“He meant it in a good way,” Irving said Monday. “Now he’s expecting it all the time. He’s pushing me harder, and I didn’t think that was possible, but it is. It’s all good.”
In the Cowboys’ last game, a 30-16 victory over the Packers, Irving played only 19 snaps. Yet, he forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble, recorded a sack and batted down a pass.
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“It’s a hard level to play at,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “His production over 19 snaps is record-breaking, so it’s hard to maintain that. But what you want to maintain is the professionalism, the discipline, the intensity each and every day. Ultimately, that will allow you to play your best.
Now he’s expecting it all the time. He’s pushing me harder, and I didn’t think that was possible, but it is. It’s all good.
Cowboys defensive end David Irving on defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s expectations
“David has really come a long way since we got him here. He’s a talented guy. He’s big. He’s long. He’s quick. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He has play-making ability. But what you want players like that to do is do it on a consistent basis. He certainly showed up in the game [against the Packers]. We all said the same thing to him: The good news is you showed up in the game. The bad news is you showed up in the game. So now you’ve established a standard for yourself. That’s what we expect from you in terms of your production. That’s what we want. That’s what we want every day in practice. That’s what we want in the games.”
Before the Packers game, Irving never had a full sack. He had never forced a fumble. He had never done much of anything to attract attention or receive more playing time.
But Irving now has a spot in the Cowboys’ record book.
He tied the team mark for most forced fumbles in a game, joining DeMarcus Ware, who had three in 2005.
“It probably means more to Marinelli,” Irving said. “He was so proud, like he was going to cry. It’s crazy. It’s an honor. I wasn’t going out there to tie a record or set a record. It was a big surprise for me, and it’s awesome.”
The Cowboys signed Irving off the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad on Sept. 29, 2015. He played in 199 defensive snaps in 12 games last season before going on injured reserve with a wrist injury.
Irving tied the team mark for most forced fumbles in a game, joining DeMarcus Ware, who had three in 2005.
He has played 97 snaps this season, becoming a bigger part of the Cowboys’ defensive line rotation. The Cowboys list Irving as a backup at both defensive end, behind Tyrone Crawford, and defensive tackle, behind rookie Maliek Collins.
“I always knew I could help this team and coming out here, going against the best O-line there is and getting beat all the time and slowly getting better and better, it’s a confidence builder,” Irving said. “….I’m not anywhere near where I want to be yet, but I am better than when I showed up here. It’s coming along.”
Irving has a minor right ankle sprain that kept him out of practice last week. He vows to return Wednesday, ready to begin living up to the new expectations for him.
“He did just a terrific job in the game,” Marinelli said. “That’s what we’ve seen from him at times. Now we just want to see it all the time. …If we can’t get this guy to play with some consistency, he can really help us.”
Philadelphia at Dallas
7:30 p.m. Sunday, KXAS/5