Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will not play Monday and likely the rest of the regular season as the Cowboys try to get his back healthy for the playoffs. But the Cowboys do see the return of defensive end Randy Gregory.
Gregory practiced this week after serving a 14-game suspension for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Cowboys like what they have seen in two practices from Gregory.
“He’s looked good,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “I mean, he’s so explosive off the ball. That’s all the same. He’s thicker. He’s bigger. He’s gained weight. And he looks really good but now I think as you go, it’s not so much winning the rush, it’s building the foundation to rush. If that make sense. His get off and his pad level. I just want him to get to work and go and then he can, I think if he’s doing that he’ll help us impact the game.”
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Gregory, though, hasn’t played in a year. He had 29 snaps in the Jan. 3, regular-season finale against the Redskins.
“We’ve got to be smart obviously, but you’d like to see him if you can, affect passing downs with him,” Marinelli said. “But guys have to get in a rhythm a little bit, too, play first, second, third down and you’ve got to bring him up. I’ll kind of get a feel of him. If he needs a blow, I’ll take him out.”
Gregory, a second-round pick in 2015, had no sacks last season as a rookie. But he will get a chance against Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford with Lawrence out and Tyrone Crawford limited by shoulder and hamstring injuries.
Lawrence played only 13 snaps against the Giants two weeks ago and missed last week’s game against the Bucs.
“It’s important if we can let [Lawrence] have this almost a month to be ready to play,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “That will help him unquestionably.”