Blog maker

Randy Gregory was a real difference maker in the Cowboys defense

Just a year ago, the Dallas Cowboys defense was a disaster. Eight games into the season, the defense had allowed 266 points, the worst in the league (33 points per game), and arguably the worst unit in football overall.

Flash forward until today, and it’s hard to believe how far they’ve come. On Sunday, the Dallas defense managed to almost completely neutralize a talented Viking offense. They held Minnesota to their second-lowest total yards (278) of the season and played a big part in getting the Cowboys off to a win.

There are a number of reasons the Cowboys were able to completely turn things around on the defensive end of the ball, but one of the reasons goes way back. It is the emergence of a “war dad”, Randy Grégory.

Less than two years ago, Gregory was suspended indefinitely by the NFL. The former second-round pick had been suspended four times since his 2015 draft, and many have questioned whether he would ever play for the Cowboys or any other NFL team again.

It’s pretty remarkable how far he has come.

This season, Gregory has been all the Cowboys needed of him. When his colleague DeMarcus Lawrence fell after Week 1, it was up to Gregory to take the reins to be the top passer and the overall leader in defense.

So far he’s been everything Dallas could have imagined.

In six games, Gregory recorded five sacks and 17 presses leading the team. The 28-year-old is football’s third highest-rated passer, according to Focus on professional football, just behind Myles Garrett and Maxx Crosby.

He is also second in football in true pass PRP (18.6) and fifth in overall PRP (10.6), via PFF.

Grégory’s set PFF The 90.5 defensive rating is by far the best rating in the Cowboys defense and is very close to DeMarcus Lawrence’s 91.6 rating in 2017, the season he recorded a career-high 14.5 sacks. .

Gregory’s individual ability to rush the passer had an unprecedented impact on the Cowboys’ defense. Rookies Micah Parsons and Osa Odighizuwa had some early success rushing the passer, and veteran Tarell Basham came out on top against the Vikings, but neither single-handedly had as much of a passing impact as Gregory.

Even without their best overall defensive player in six games, Gregory’s performance kept the Cowboys the ninth highest-rated pass-rush unit in football, via PFF.

Whether it’s with the Cowboys or not, Gregory has prepared for a big payday this offseason. Last year the Cincinnati Bengals signed pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson to a four-year, $ 60 million free agency contract. It might sound crazy, but there’s a chance Gregory will be able to secure a similar deal when he hits the market next spring.

Hendrickson had just completed a career year in which he burst onto the scene with 13.5 sacks. With at least 10 games to go for the Cowboys, Gregory could easily come close to Hendrickson’s 13.5 sack total.

Teams are willing to pay a hefty price for premium pass-rushers, and Gregory will be at the top of many teams’ wishlists this offseason. Wherever he ends up playing in the next few years of his career, he will be paid very well.

When you look at where he was just two years ago, it’s pretty inspiring where Randy Gregory is today. When they needed him most, Gregory took a giant leap forward.

Where would the Cowboys be without him? It’s a question they hope they don’t have to answer. Not just this season, but for years to come.