The Cowboys want Tyrone Crawford to more disruptive. In fact, they expect it from their three-technique.
“I think he’s played well for us,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “You always want more from all of your players. But the position he plays, the under tackle position, you want that guy to be disruptive. At times he has been. He has been a force defending the run. He has affected the quarterback. Other times, not as good. He’s done a good job playing through some injuries. He’s fighting hard. I think we’re getting better technically, too. I think he’s doing a good job understanding how to get away from guys down in there and continued to show up in the running game. He plays the right way. Certainly, we want him being more disruptive moving forward.”
Crawford, who turns 26 later this month, has 19 tackles, two sacks and 14 quarterback pressures while playing 69 percent of the snaps. It’s not enough because of the position he plays, the three-technique, which Warren Sapp made famous in a Hall of Fame career playing for Rod Marinelli in Tampa Bay.
“No,” Marinelli answered when asked if Crawford had been disruptive enough. “He’s got to, and he knows that. He’s just got to keep working. I think we really like where he was at the end of last year, coming [on], and now he’s just got to produce. It’s a producing position. He knows that.”
The Cowboys signed Crawford to a five-year, $45 million contract, with $25.7 million guaranteed, before the start of this season. They felt he was on the verge of a breakout season after making three sacks and ranking second on the team with 29 quarterback hurries in his first year at defensive tackle.
Crawford exemplifies the defense’s so-so play this season. They rank 15th in total defense with only 14 sacks and a league-low four takeaways.
“We need to have our playmakers, including myself, to make more plays,” said Crawford, who has one sack in the past seven games. “We might need to get out of our comfort zone and do something different. We also need to run to the ball better and with that will come turnovers and just hopefully a little bit of luck in getting the ball.”
Crawford injured his shoulder in a Week 2 victory over the Eagles. Although he no longer is on the injury report, Crawford’s injury has set him back this season.
“It was crazy painful going into weeks three and four,” Crawford said. “It’s been getting better and better ever since then. It’s still not as strong as I want it to be, but [athletic trainer] Britt [Brown] and everyone in here, and our strength staff, has been helping me out with it a lot. It’s definitely been a frustrating injury for me, and it’s making my season a lot more frustrating than I want it to be, but you know, I’m definitely getting back up on my bench press. I’m starting to gain a little bit of hope with it. [Wednesday] we finally got 225 on the bar, and I’m like a 450 bencher.”
He hopes to finish the season the way he finished last season.
“It’s a pounding position on these guys, but boy, you’ve got to rise up, and you’ve got to be able to come every down,” Marinelli said. “I think he’s learning that his name is out there a little more. They’re going to run at him and chip him. That’s part of the position.”