FRISCO, Texas – Since the Cowboys welcomed Kris Richard to their defensive staff at the start of 2018, his preferences have been clear. The founder and creator of the "Legion of Boom" in Seattle echoes through the way he formulates his defenses, even now, here in Dallas.
So when Jourdan Lewis jogs onto the field for practice in his 5-10 frame, he doesn't exactly look like the rest of the guys in the group – on the outside, anyway.
"He's really not limited, by any means," Richard said, emphatically. "I've really said it throughout my history here. You take a player like Jourdan Lewis, and he's an exception. I'll consistently say it, because he is."
That belief doesn't stop there. The head coach acknowledges their prototype for a Dallas defensive unit, and again reiterates that Lewis is in the thick of every competition, even if he doesn't fit an established mode.
"We have a profile for every position physically on our team. We've always had that," Jason Garrett said. "There's heights and weights and arm lengths and hand size that we have for every spot on our team. But you also want to recognize good football players. When we drafted Jourdan, we knew he was right on that Mendoza line of being 5-10 and change, but we also knew that he was a really good football player."
In the 2018 season, Lewis only got in on 18% of the defensive snaps the entire season. His most memorable play came late in the Cowboys' showdown against the Saints, when he had the game-saving interception of Drew Brees with 2:08 to play in the fourth quarter. Cowboys celebrated their way into victory, 13-10.
"He made impactful plays for us last year, plays on the ball that changed games, he helped us win games," Jason Garrett said. "So that's what he's all about; that's who he's been all about since he was this high", he says with his arm extended out to his side. "Ask his high school coaches up at Cass Tech in Detroit. Ask his coaches at Michigan. They all say the same thing, and that's what we've seen since we've gotten him here."
Lewis chooses to keep his eyes forward.
"[They've said] 'we're gonna try to get you more opportunities on the field, when you go out there you make things happen.' Just gotta take that with a grain of salt and keep grinding, honestly. It's going to be a long offseason, we just gotta keep grinding," Lewis said.
"I think the positive thing about Jourdan is, when he's gotten chances to play, he's played well, Jason Garrett said. "He's in a battle. He'll compete every day for a spot on this roster for playing time."
"I have a job to do. Whatever the coaches need from me, that's what I'll be able to do. I can do whatever on the field, that's not the case. I just gotta work every day. I can't think about any of the outcomes," Lewis said. "Its just being confident in yourself and when your number is called just being able to do your job."