On Thursday the Cowboys parted ways with veteran defensive end Anthony Hargrove. Was I shocked by this move being that he was signed just a few short weeks ago? No, not at all. There is never any harm in taking a look at players especially when it cost you nothing to do it. Hargrove was a player that had some success in the 4-3 scheme with the Saints so to take a chance on a player that could potentially adding some depth to the position always makes sense.
My problem with Hargrove was he wasn't in the best physical condition and it took him valuable practice time to get in shape, which didn't allow the front office and coaches to fully evaluate him. If you are working with the strength staff instead of the defensive line coach, then we have a problem. This is something that I put on the player because this is your job, you have to be ready to go and he wasn't. It wasn't until the last mini-camp practice that I even noticed him and during that rep, he was limping after the play. From what I remembered about Hargrove is that he had some knee issues that weren't major but it was something you always had to keep an eye on. The player wasn't ready so the team moves on, smart football.
Which brings me to the position of defensive end and how it will be shaped when we all leave for Oxnard in July. The scout in me likes what I have seen so far from the depth at the position with Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber but also keep an eye on Cameron Sheffield as well. Crawford has a real chance to make that rookie jump from what we had seen from him in 2012 to playing a significant role in this scheme. He looks stronger at the point, he doesn't stay blocked and he still has that quickness when he played at a much lighter weight. It's been fun to watch he and Ben Bass work together on the same side because they are both [embedded_ad] relentless once they come off the ball.
Kyle Wilber has gone from a man without a position to a rangy, slippery, hand on the ground rusher. He had some outstanding battles with Tyron Smith where he got his butt kicked but he bounced back with some reps that put Smith on his heals as well. Wilber like Crawford added more bulk without losing quickness. Where I like Wilber in this scheme, it's about getting up the field and he has a real feel for this. His technique is much better due to his work with Rod Marinelli and Leon Lett.
As this group sits at the defensive end, I believe it's one of the strengths of this team. Ware and Spencer will thrive in this scheme and Crawford physically looks ready while Wilber looks as comfortable in the position as any time since he has been here. Coaches will always tell you it's their job to put players in situations to make plays but it also helps to have talent and the way this group shapes up, it appears to have that.