Tyrone Crawford is hoping to catch NFL offenses by surprise this season.
As Cowboys watcher Bo Martin pointed out in a recent Bleacherreport.com story, “defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is as big of a mystery as you’ll find in Dallas.”
The Windsor Ontario native, who starred at Boise State before the Cowboys drafted him in the third round of the 2012 draft, is coming off of a season-ending injury and has only appeared in 16 games over the past two seasons.
Yet, despite the unknown, Martin believes Crawford may be the key to the revival of the Dallas defense.
“Crawford has a great motor and a strong pass-rushing repertoire. A player of his skill and athleticism will be welcomed on a defense that ranked 32nd in the league in total yardage allowed,” wrote Martin (full piece available here
“Despite all of his measurable talent, Crawford’s biggest impact on this team is his versatility. At 6’4” and 283 pounds, Crawford can be effective in multiple positions along the defensive line. He’s strong enough to set the edge against the run, he’s explosive enough to rush the passer as a 3-tech, and he’s fast enough to rush against stronger offensive tackles. Simply put, Crawford is a jack-of-all-trades.”
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli also recently stated on Cowboys.com that Crawford would begin as a backup to defensive tackle Henry Melton, but hints at a bigger role: “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 position also.”
Martin also points out that with the departure of the team’s two best defensive linemen in 2013 (DeMarcus Ware to Denver and Jason Hatcher to Washington), there is great opportunity for players like Crawford.
In his piece, Martin also includes a Cowboys.com quote from star quarterback Tony Romo about Crawford:
“I think Tyrone Crawford’s going to be a guy that’ll be shocking a lot of people, and I think if we’d had him last year, it’d been a very different defensive unit that we would have had,” Romo said.
Crawford’s defensive coaches include Rod Marinelli, Monte Kiffin and player-turned-coach Leon Lett.
“I’m really excited to be coached by them. They’re Great,” Crawford told Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com in a recent piece. “Big Cat’s (Lett) obviously played and he can tell you a lot from experience and (assistant defensive line and defensive ends coach Ben) Bloom is really smart. He definitely corrects me when I’m wrong, Coach Marinelli, they all correct me when I’m wrong, and recently it’s been a lot. I knew that was going to happen because I’m a little rusty, but love the coaching, they’re doing a great job with us right now and every day I’m getting better under them.”
“I’m just getting ready to get off the ball in a game,” Crawford added. “See what it’s like wearing pads again and just being able to incorporate all my different moves and make the offensive linemen be aware that I have a bullrush as well.”