Dallas Cowboys

Tyrone Crawford settling in at defensive tackle, watching film of Warren Sapp, others

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (98) cuts around defensive tackle coach Leon Lett during a recent practice.
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (98) cuts around defensive tackle coach Leon Lett during a recent practice. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Versatility is a good trait for football players to have, but there’s something to be said for locking in at a single position.

Just ask Tyrone Crawford, who bounced between defensive end and defensive tackle until he established himself as a formidable three-technique tackle midway through last season.

It made his life easier this offseason.

“Extremely easier,” Crawford said. “I knew where I wanted my weight, I knew how I wanted to lift and I knew different things I needed to train. I knew things I needed to study, people I needed to study on film.”

Crawford spent his time in the film room watching some of the great three-technique tackles such as Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, two-time Pro Bowler Keith Millard and former Cowboys tackle and one-time Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher. He also analyzes the best defensive linemen in the game today like Houston’s J.J. Watt.

Sapp, though, is the player who most exemplified how effective the three-technique tackle can be in the Tampa 2 scheme in his days at Tampa Bay, and that same Tampa 2 scheme is what the Cowboys are running with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

Crawford said he tries to look at every aspect of a certain player’s game on film.

“Just their technique, their different moves,” Crawford said. “Just the way they played the position.”

Crawford, the 25-year-old, fourth-year pro out of Boise State, is among the players projected to have a breakout-type season, and has been considered by some to be next in line for a contract extension.

He recorded his first sack against Philadelphia at home last season in Week 13, and had a two-sack game at Philadelphia two weeks later. Everyone within the organization feels that Crawford is poised to build off that and develop into one of the top defensive linemen in the league.

“Tyrone was a victim of how good of a player we think he is … His versatility last year at this time gave us reason to think that he could almost play any spot across the defensive line,” coach Jason Garrett said. “As we got into training camp, he got into that under tackle position and seemed to find a home there. That’s really what you want.

“If you can get guys to settle into some of these positions where they are doing the repetition and the skills and the techniques over and over again that’s when they really thrive.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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