OXNARD, Calif. – For the 10th year in a row, a throng of reporters rushed toward DeMarcus after the first practice of Cowboys training camp. For the first time in 10 years, the DeMarcus in question was DeMarcus Lawrence, not Ware.
Lawrence faced the crush of attention expected of a second-round pick on Thursday – especially a second-round pick who was acquired in a trade up. Asked about expectations, though, the rookie said he wasn't concerned about any assumed pressure in replacing Ware on the defensive line.
"My mentality is, I have my own expectations, I know what I need to do to be successful and help this team be where we need to be, Lawrence said. "It don't matter what everybody else's expectations is, it's about the team."
The Boise State product took it one step further when asked to clarify those expectations. Ware, now the Cowboys' franchise sack leader, began his career with eight sacks as a rookie. Lawrence said he expects to do better.
"My expectation is to go out and get 10 sacks, 10-plus sacks – whatever coach needs me to do," he said. "I really don't think coach really cares about the numbers, he just cares about us doing our assignment and job, really."
Lawrence didn't want to make Ware comparisons, though. As he said following his selection in May, he said "not really" when asked about the pressure of replacing the Cowboys legend. When asked whether the Cowboys made the right decision in trading up to the No. 34 pick to draft him, however, Lawrence smiled and said "Oh, yeah."
For now, the goal is to ease into the process – something the Cowboys are doing for the whole roster with two split practices Thursday and Friday. Lawrence said he still needs to acclimate to the pro level, but he's ready to get to work.
"I feel like the tempo is going to pick up a lot more than just the walkthroughs and cleaning up our footwork and our fundamentals," he said. "This is just the first steps in this process."