Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones loves what he sees from the defense this off-season, and expects a number of the team's breakout performances to come from that phase.
Jones joined "G-Bag Nation" on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth to talk about the players he expected to have outstanding seasons in 2015.
"I think you got to start with a guy like DeMarcus Lawrence who was starting to get some people's attention in the playoffs," said Jones. "He had to sit out most of the year with an injury, and was really coming on strong. And I think he's gotten better."
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Lawrence only played seven games in 2014 due to a broken foot that landed him on the short-term IR to start his rookie campaign. Though the second-round pick out of Boise State failed to record a sack in the regular season, he recorded two sacks, three tackles, and had a game-sealing sack-fumble and recovery against the Detroit Lions in the NFC wildcard.
Jones also lauded defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, 2015 second-round defensive end Randy Gregory, and free agent defensive end Greg Hardy, who will miss the first four games due to a violation of the league's personal conduct policy.
"And then of course, he's not going to be breaking out because everyone has seen what he can do before, but it's going to be great to have Sean Lee back out on the field. And I'm excited to see what Mo Claiborne and Byron Jones can do as well.
"So, that defensive side of the ball, I expect us to improve a great deal. And I think that we've added some players and some guys have gotten healthy that will make our defense better."
Dallas finished eighth in rushing yards on defense, but had the seventh-worst defense in terms of passing yards and had the fifth-fewest sacks with 28. The pass defense cost the Cowboys a chance to beat Green Bay in the divisional playoffs, but the front office is hoping such additions will improve the team's chances at a deep postseason run.
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