IRVING, Texas -- At the end of last season, defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford couldn’t bench press 225 pounds because of a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Understand, Crawford bench-pressed that same weight 28 times at the 2012 NFL scouting combine.
The lack of strength made Crawford the equivalent of a 98-pound weakling on the defensive line, where a lack of strength made it easy for offensive linemen to push him around.
It showed in Crawford’s performance.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Crawford to a five-year deal worth $42.5 million last September because they believed he was a play-making defensive tackle, who would be a dynamic player in the Cowboys’ defense. Instead, he totaled just five sacks and wasn’t the difference-maker the Cowboys envisioned.
Now, the plan is for Crawford to start the season at defensive end since Randy Gregory has been suspended for the season’s first four games and DeMarcus Lawrence is appealing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Crawford, who had offseason surgery, has re-gained his strength and is bench-pressing 450 pounds these days. The strength combined with the rest of his skill set should allow him to play well whether defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli chooses to use him at defensive end or defensive tackle.
“The blocking -- the different blocks you’re going to get -- are a little different at defensive end,” Crawford said. “but all of my reads will probably come right back as soon as I do it for a little while.”