Time to adjust Lawrence expectations

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence set high expectations for himself when he said he wanted to get 10 sacks as a rookie.

With Lawrence needing surgery to repair a broken foot, those expectations should be lowered. It is possible Lawrence will miss three to six regular-season games as he recovers from the surgery.

Lawrence took part in three padded practices in training camp. Although he performed well and was on track to possibly become the opening day starter, his development will stop as he goes through rehab. He will not get on-field work like this even in the regular season. The most learning happens in training camp.

When Lawrence returns, Jason Garrett said the coaches will work him slowly into the defense.

“He certainly needs time to get himself acclimated to playing at this level in this system, getting the techniques right, understanding what we are asking him to do in each defensive scheme,” Garrett said. “That will take time. We will get back. We will make the right decisions about how we use him initially when he comes back, as far as practice and getting him involved in games but that is a long way off. The best thing for him is to get that thing fixed and do whatever he needs to do to get back.”

The Cowboys lost Tyrone Crawford for the season at the start of training camp last summer because of a torn Achilles. Executive vice president Stephen Jones took an optimistic view.

“He’s hopefully going to miss only a couple of games and have the rest of the season,” Jones said. “It could have been worse.”