Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones craves finding ‘war daddy’ for Cowboys’ defense; how about Jaylon Smith?

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) works on resistance training at Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., in August. Smith hopes to go through drills during organized team activities in May.
Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) works on resistance training at Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., in August. Smith hopes to go through drills during organized team activities in May. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

“The Walking Dead,” hashtag TWD, returned from the television undead, or wherever, Sunday night. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would love to bring back something to Arlington that’s #TWD: The War Daddy.

“If I have a chance to bring one of these premier pass rusher, one of these war daddies that takes two to block, if I have a chance to get a player like that, I would,” Jones told ESPN/103.3 FM’s “J-Dub City” last week on discussing finding a pass rusher.

“It’s not a question of that. It’s a question of, where is he? And who gives him up if he’s a veteran, or where is he in the draft, or where is he anywhere. So, yeah we do need pressure. We’re going to try to do something about it.”

But he added, “Nobody gives up the ideal pass rusher.”

Jones said the Cowboys have the type of player needed, but both DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory “are compromised,” referring to offseason back surgery for Lawrence and Gregory’s one-year suspension announced in early January for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Jones may have another Cowboys player in mind: Jaylon Smith.

Smith, the former Notre Dame star linebacker was a second-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2016 but missed all of last season after blowing out his left knee in his final college game, the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016.

Note that commentators said the Atlanta Falcons didn’t have a War Daddy to finish off the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Didn’t have a Von Miller, the Denver Broncos linebacker/pass rusher who brought down the Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Smith, working on position drills in a Feb. 7 video, underwent surgery to reconstruct his left anterior cruciate ligament after the bowl game, and has been dealing with a drop foot condition that requires him to wear a brace during rehab exercises. He has a nerve regenerating in his left knee.

Jones was enthusiastic about Smith’s potential impact.

“We have, in Jaylon Smith, a real improvement to our defense. He can play now if he starts now and has the kind of spring that you’d expect him to have.

“He can play, in my view, where he is. But I do expect him to improve with his nerve and even be more comfortable, but in my mind, he’s capable of playing right now.

“He’s a dramatic difference on the field. He’s not necessarily your designated pass rusher, but I don’t know that he can’t be an outstanding pass rusher. He’s outstanding everyplace else. Now this guy is healthy, a No. 1 pick. So, right there we’ve got a chance to add a new face that makes a difference for us.”

FoxSports.com’s writer Cameron DaSilva on Jones said: “What was was most interesting about Jones’ comments regarding Smith was that he hinted the stud linebacker could be an outstanding pass rusher. Smith typically played off-the-ball linebacker at Notre Dame, but he did rush off the edge in certain instances.”

https://audioboom.com/posts/5593926-j-dub-city-cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-021017

This story includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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