Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can’t say enough good things or have more respect for defensive end Greg Hardy and his approach to the game.
While Marinelli said he needs to get rookie defensive end Randy Gregory wired back in and up to speed after missing the last four games with a high ankle sprain, no such prompting was needed for Hardy, who had two sacks and a five quarterback hits against New England two weeks ago in what was his first game in 14 months.
Marinelli is expecting more of the same from Hardy when the Cowboys face the Eli Manning and the New York Giants Sunday because that’s what he is about. Hardy missed practice on Thursday with an illness but it is not considered serious. He should be ready go on Sunday.
“I think the guy, Hardy, lives it every second of every day,” Marinelli said. “I know the guy is rushing when he’s leaving the building. It just, guys are like that. I’ve had guys like that. But now these young guys, we’ve got to get them wired in, back in. (Gregory) has played 15 snaps since he’s been here. So, we got to get him back up to speed.”
Marinelli said he has had guys before like Hardy, though he declined to name names. But he said what Hardy oozes is “innate” and you can see it on the field and in the film room.
“It’s his work habits,” Marinelli said. “They’re really good. It comes off the film that he works. Oh, I couldn’t compare. I’ve had a lot of really good ones. I just look at him and there’s a guy that’s innate. He comes out every day in how he prepares and how he works. He lives the game. He lives it.”
Hardy’s football character and work habits often get lost when people talk about his off the field issues _ namely the domestic violence incident in 2014 that cost him the first four games of the season because an NFL suspension.
But those are things that prompted the Cowboys to take a chance on him in face of all the criticism. They are also what makes him a special, per Marinelli.
“Hopefully, it shows up on game day that he’s living it,” Marinelli said. “It’s hard to play like that without living it. You know what I’m saying? He’s a special guy.”