The Cowboys will start the 2015 season with two defensive playmakers serving four-game suspensions in defensive tackle Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain. However, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones thinks the team's depth will mitigate against those two losses.
"I think we through a little bit of that last year with Orlando [Scandrick], and certainly came in knowing that was going to be the case where we weren't going to have these two guys," Jones said on "Ben & Skin" Friday on 105.3 The Fan. "But at the same time we developed some depth in training camp and really fired up about Randall Gregory and of course Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence have come a long way. And we've got a wily veteran in Jeremy Mincey. It's a good crew of defensive linemen who are ready to go in there and make a big difference."
Gregory, a projected first-round defensive end out of Nebraska, fell into the team's laps at pick 60 during this year's draft. Lawrence was a second-rpund pick from 2014 the Cowboys traded up to select, and he did not disappoint in the playoffs with a game-sealing sack-fumble and recovery of Matt Stafford of the Detroit Lions in the wildcard round. Crawford is entering his fourth season and the team expects 2015 to be his breakout year, while Mincey provides leadership and led the team with six sacks last season. The team believes this unit can sustain the loss as Hard serves is suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
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"Same thing at linebacker," said Jones. "We drafted a good player in [Damien] Wilson. We got Sean Lee back who we didn't have last year. I know our guys will be ready to play."
Dallas took Wilson with their fourth-round selection, while six-year veteran Sean Lee is returning from a torn ACL sustained last off-season during OTA's. The Cowboys also have second-year linebacker Anthony Hitchens, a versatile player, in their linebacker corps to fill in while McClain serves his suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
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