IRVING, Texas – Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli provided more insight into where defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford might be lining up in 2014.
The Cowboys had visions of Crawford at a multitude of spots along the defensive line before he went down in 2013. This season, it sounds like he'll begin as a three-technique defensive tackle, but he's got to be prepared to move around.
"I could see him playing inside and some outside," Marinelli said. "I like to probably start him inside at the under, and he's always got to know the left end position also… I want these guys to compete for a job."
Crawford's bound to see a great deal of action along the line this season, if he can stay healthy.
Quarterback Tony Romo praised the abilities of the former third-round pick during an interview with 105.3 FM "The Fan," saying If there's one dark horse to watch for on the team this year, it's Crawford.
"I think Tyrone Crawford's going to be a guy that'll be shocking to a lot of people, and I think if we'd had had him last year, it'd been a very different defensive unit that we would have had," Romo said. "Without people knowing, I think we're getting a couple of first or second round guys with him coming back from injury. He's a guy that stands out for me."
Even if Crawford begins his work inside, it's possible he kicks outside at times as the Cowboys utilize a wave of defensive linemen to bother opposing offenses. Marinelli said it's critical they have numbers at disposal on the defensive line. [embedded_ad]
"First of all, make sure they're good ballplayers," Marinelli said. "I think going down that road it's pretty good. But that's what I want, a bunch of guys who can really come out and play every down and unselfish guys."
Marinelli also wants his left end to be mobile to create more mismatches, and it's possible Crawford can help out in that area. If Crawford's worthy of starting spot, it's likely Marinelli will find one for him, and his versatility helps in that respect.
If he doesn't start, Crawford's still expected to be a vital part of the rotation. But he first needs to show in Organized Team Activities and at training camp that he's fully healed from his Achilles injury.
"I'm excited about the guy," Marinelli said. "I think he's got unique talent, movement, size, all those things. But now we've got to do it, so I want to see it. When I see it, I'll be able to answer that better."