IRVING, Texas – After his second effort at defensive tackle this season, maybe Tyrone Crawford just feels like he got hit by a running back – rather than a truck.
Crawford was once again in the middle of the Cowboys' defensive line on Sunday, as he helped Dallas fend off Houston from the three-technique spot. It was a physical game, but perhaps not as surprising as his defensive tackle debut. Following that effort against the Saints in Week 4, Crawford tweeted that he felt like he "got hit by a transport truck."
With another week to pick it up, Crawford said he's transitioning quickly to the physicality of the position.
"I've just been learning – learning more on how to take on blocks. The first week, I was just running head first into different blocks, different guys," he said. "I've learned – quickly, I would say – how to take on blocks better, but still a lot of learning to do. But I feel better."
The Cowboys moved Crawford inside from defensive end after Week 3, and the results have been positive to this point. Like several Cowboys defensive linemen, he hasn't tallied a sack this season, but Crawford does lead the defense in quarterback pressures with 12.
"I don't know if I feel more comfortable, but I do feel like I've done a better job at the tackle position than the end. What I can improve on, there's definitely still a lot of reads and different things I need to continue to learn. But I definitely feel like I've been a better tackle than end."
None of this is necessarily a surprise. Crawford swapped between end and tackle during training camp, and that was expected to be a possibility for him last year before an Achilles injury ended his season early.
With Anthony Spencer working his way into the lineup, and with the return of rookie DeMarcus Lawrence not far off, the Cowboys probably feel tackle is the best spot for the third-year lineman. True to the mantra of the defense this season, Crawford said he'll play wherever he's asked to line up.
"I figured there's going to be times when I play a lot of end, depending on the situation, there's going to be times when I play a lot of tackle – and nose, depending on the situation," he said. "Our situation right now, it's placing me at the tackle position. That's the position I'm going to be playing, and I'm going to play it to the best of my ability."