Cowboys defensive line looks as deep as it’s been in a long time

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Tyrone Crawford was asked last week if the current Cowboys defensive line was the best he’s seen in his time in Dallas.

“I mean, are you talking about when Ratliff, D-Ware, Spence and Hatcher were all here?” Crawford said.

How soon they forget.

In Crawford’s rookie season of 2012, the Cowboys had DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff. The previous season was the last time the Cowboys made more than 40 sacks. They had 42 in 2011.

But there is no doubt the current Cowboys defensive line is the best since the team switched back to the 4-3 in 2013. Rod Marinelli, who arrived five years ago as the defensive line coach, became the defensive coordinator of Dallas’ Tampa 2 in 2014.

“Oh yeah, I really like the guys we’ve got, and they work,” Marinelli said. “They come out, and they go. They know what the tempo is. That’s always been our calling card — tempo, our movement, our speed and some of those things. Whatever happened in the past doesn’t matter. We put our socks back on and get ready to roll.”

The Cowboys have DeMarcus Lawrence, who had a breakout year in making 14.5 sacks last season, Crawford, Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper, Maliek Collins, David Irving, Datone Jones, Jihad Ward and Kony Ealy. They drafted Dorance Armstrong, who they have high hopes for, and they could see the return of Randy Gregory, who will apply for reinstatement this week.

They should live up to Marinelli’s name for the them — “Rush Men” — as the Cowboys send pass rushers in waves.

“I’m more excited to get this thing going than ever,” Crawford said. “The defensive line, we’ve got a lot of weapons and with what we’ve shown so far in workouts, I’m excited to see these guys on the field. It’s going to definitely be a fun year. I’m ready for everything Coach Marinelli has to coach us and we’ll see how it goes.”

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