IRVING, Texas – With 27 sacks in his past 32 games, there's no doubt that having Greg Hardy available for 12 games makes a world of difference for the Cowboys.
With that in mind, I wanted to go back and re-visit my scouting report from when the team signed Hardy. There's no doubt that he is an elite-caliber player, and he'll have far more opportunity to showcase his skills than if he had served a 10-game suspension.
Games Studied: Carolina, 2013 against Seattle, New England, New York Giants, San Francisco
- Plays the game with a great deal of passion and emotion. Is non-stop in the way he attacks the ball, whether it is run or pass. I see him as a right defensive end in this scheme, but he has played on the left side, as well.
- Lines up as an under-tackle in certain pass rush packages. Will play with his hand on the ground the majority of the time, but there are also snaps where he will rush from a two-point stance on his feet. I could see that they were trying to match him up with blockers that he could take advantage of.
- In the Patriots matchup, Nate Solder was giving him some problems so they kicked him over to the other side and he took some shots against Marcus Cannon -- similar to what we have seen with DeMarcus Ware during his career in Dallas.
- Outstanding short area quickness and burst. Really comes out of his stance when the ball is snapped. Plays with range, especially when the ball goes away from him. He can really run from the backside -- natural change of direction and balance. I would not say that he has remarkable upper body strength, because there were snaps where, unless he was able to get his hands inside first, shedding blockers was a problem.
- Where he beats blockers is with that first initial move. He can put them in a bad spot right off the snap. Is consistent in the way he rushes. Comes with counter moves and a plan. Can defeat men one-on-one or handle a double team and still get pressure.
- The Seahawks sent two guys at him all day, and he was able to use in and out moves to free himself. He knows that he needs to be on the move to make things happen. There are snaps where you see the blockers over-extended and reaching for him. If blockers don't get their hands on him quickly, he is around the edge instantly. He can really bend and finish once he captures the edge. When he sinks his hips, he can burst. If he is in a position to bring the ball carrier or the quarterback down, he can wrap up and get them to the ground. I only observed one snap where a ball carrier got out of his grasp and after the play he knew it.