Mailbag: Early Impressions Of Byron Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence?

JIM SIMONDS
KINGSTON, ONTARIO

How would you rate the play of Byron Jones to date. Has his play been worthy of a first round pick? Do you still see him as a safety moving forward?*

Bryan: If you just watched the Philadelphia game – you would have the answer to your question. Jones has done everything that this coaching staff has asked him. There was confusion of what personnel group needed to be on the field for that two point conversion against Atlanta and that's on him. I believe you will see him play safety this season and then revaluate where they are next season with Claiborne and Carr – then make that call.  

Rob:Jones has done a nice job covering tight ends in the dime package. That's been his primary job so far, though he did fill in briefly at safety against the Falcons when Barry Church cut his lip. He was very effective in particular slowing down Zach Ertz in the win at Philadelphia. Jones has corner skills with the frame to deal with tight ends, and this is a good first-year role for him right now. A little like Randy Gregory facing Tyron Smith daily in the offseason, defending Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar has helped Jones' development.

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RICK RODRIGUEZBLOOMINGDALE, IL

Has anybody seen Demarcus Lawrence? This was supposed to be a breakout year in terms of sacks and qb pressure. Has the absence of Randy Gregory and Greg Hardy hampered his development?*

Bryan:Rick, I wish that you had the opportunity to sit down with me and watch Lawrence play each week. He is not as bad as everyone thinks he is. This defense has faced three veteran quarterbacks that know if they don't get the ball out quickly – they are going to have problems. Of all the defensive linemen on this squad he is the only one that is at least in position to create pressure.

Rob:Lawrence is tied with Tyrone Crawford for the team lead in quarterback pressures (four). It's been well established this week that the Cowboys need more from their entire pass rush (a healthier group would certainly help). One thing lost in Julio Jones' huge second half was Matt Ryan had too much time to set his feet and make throws down the field. The defense has three sacks through three games (one each from Crawford, Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee), though quarterbacks are indeed getting the ball out quickly. I said in camp that Lawrence would lead the defense in sacks this year and I still believe that. Getting Hardy and Gregory back soon will only help him.

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