Rod Marinelli is about to take role call and for the first time this season he will have all his Regulators manning the defensive line and setting the edge. With all his men reporting for duty, Marinelli’s lineman should be able to perfect the wave.
For the first two games of the season, Marinelli made due with the players at the ranch who were eligible for play in the 2015 NFL season. The depleted group was able to hold on and play just well enough to get the team to 2-0. Then disaster struck. Tony Romo suffered a broken left Clavicle and the team did a nose dive.
The Cowboys were depending on the defense to carry the team after Dez Bryant and Tony Romo both went down with serious injuries. However, the task was just too large for the group to handle without the services of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory to set the edge.
This defense has been embarrassed in the last three games. They have failed to compete in the second half of games since losing Tony Romo. They were undermanned, out of breath and out classed by Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. You can bet the players have had plenty of coaching from Marinelli this last two weeks.
After posting five first half sacks against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Cowboys still have something to show and a lot to prove. It was good to see Greg Hardy donning the Star and attacking the offense the way he did.
This week, Rod Marinelli’s wave defense should be fully staffed and ready to arrest the offensive game of the New York Giants.
This week’s game will feature the return of second round selection – defensive end, Randy Gregory. Gregory will complete the defensive lines fully staffed group of angry Regulators. The return of Gregory will allow Hardy to move all around on the defensive line, keeping the Giants’ offensive line off balance. Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence look to be the direct beneficiaries of having the complete squad available and healthy for the first time this season.
Having Jeremy Mincey and Nick Hayden ready for action will probably limit the playing time for newly acquired David Irving. Irving was not as effective against the Patriots as he was against the New Orleans Saints, but this could change with him coming off the bench with fresh legs and with his 6’7” frame to clog the inside passing lanes for Eli Manning.
After the Bye Week Rod Marinelli will have just two practices to get this group ready to hunt down Eli Manning. Manning will be on the run early and often. The Cowboys ability to make him uncomfortable in his own home will be a needed factor, if this defense is going to be able to lead this team back in the right direction in the absence of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
Marinelli and this group of highly touted linemen need to perform as good on the field this Sunday afternoon as they have been speculated to be capable of being all summer, on paper. This group has something to prove, to the coaches, to the fans, to the league and most importantly – to themselves.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier on down the trail from here. If the Cowboys are going to be able to compete, the Regulators will need to set the edge while collapsing the pocket and they will need to do it for four quarters per game, for the remainder of the season.
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