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DE Crawford (Calf) Working To Catch Up After Missing Summer

Well after most Cowboys players and coaches had left the Valley Ranch practice field following the first practice of rookie camp on Wednesday, defensive line coach Brian Baker remained on the field, giving technique pointers to third-round pick Tyrone Crawford.

The end missed all 11 on-field sessions with veterans this summer due to a calf injury, and realized he was a bit behind. When Baker finally dismissed him, the coach told Crawford that breaking his bad habit on the first step out of a three-point stance will only take about 5,000 repetitions.

"I need them," Crawford said following his first workout since the team's initial rookie mini-camp, held a week after the NFL Draft.

The 22-year-old from Boise State is the highest defensive line draft pick for the Cowboys since Jason Hatcher in 2006, and figures to be a part of the rotation at end, perhaps sliding inside on passing downs, but only if he can get up to speed quickly. Wednesday was the first of many steps he will have to take before he's ready.

"It was a little rusty," Crawford said. "I have to tune up. But anybody coming back is probably going to be like that. But yeah, I'll try and get it together this week, and be ready for training camp that first day."

Crawford said he expects to get plenty of extra pointers from Baker along the way, and plans to hone his technique by performing reps on his own after practice, or in his hotel room at training camp.

While the absence of practice reps over the summer may be the toughest obstacle for Crawford to overcome in his rookie year, he also admits he fell behind a bit in terms of his conditioning. He wasn't able to perform core exercises or leg lifts, but tried to make up for it with resistance training and more upper-body work.

Crawford, who was listed at 6-4, 282 pounds when he was drafted, wants to eventually play in the 295-pound range. He has already beefed up to 290, even with the limitations he's had because of the injury. "I did as much as I can," Crawford said. "I feel like I didn't slack, for getting (the calf) better and everything. I got a lot better, and as soon as I was able to go, I went hard."

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