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Thread: Sturm: The Incredibly Perplexing Case Of David Irving

  1. #1
    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Sturm: The Incredibly Perplexing Case Of David Irving

    The Incredibly Perplexing Case Of David Irving







    By Bob Sturm 5 hours ago





    If there is one thing you look for on the football field, it is 'special.' Special traits that often provide special talents. Those special talents bring special plays. In a league where special is nearly impossible to find at bargain prices, you certainly cannot believe your luck when it falls into your lap.


    Which is why the case of David Irving is so bewildering.


    David Irving was acquired for nearly nothing when the Cowboys signed him off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad on September 29, 2015. He was an undrafted free agent for the Chiefs out of Iowa State and did not make the Chiefs' final roster, as the scheme fit was never quite right in a 3-4 defense. With Dallas and the 4-3, Irving seemed to be a possibility at DE and DT where his lanky frame and unreal quickness inside would make him a terror at making plays behind the line of scrimmage.


    And he delivered on that potential nearly immediately. In 2015, he played roughly 20 snaps in each of his 10 games, but there were already signs that he could do some very unique things with his quickness off the snap and his penetration before a run play can develop at all.

    Above, Irving (95) provided uncommon quickness to make plays in the backfield immediately when he was put inside at the 3-technique, like this one in 2015 vs the Eagles.

    On passing downs, even as a rookie, when isolated against a guard, he showed uncommon pass rush skills.



    During the next training camp – his first in Dallas (in 2016) – the rare talents continued to show themselves and I wrote a long piece for the Dallas Morning News that suggested 2016 could be huge for the young man:
    Overall, I think he has a real chance to be something. Of course, he is also an undrafted free agent who is just trying to prove he belongs in the NFL. In other words, the Cowboys are badly exposed at this position because of the suspensions and now must roll the dice on a kid who is largely anonymous across the league, and even to many Cowboys fans.



    But I liked his 2015 and I like his training camp. Now, the talented youngster has to prove he can handle things in preseason. If he can, he starts opening night. From there, this guy can make a ton of money playing pro football if he keeps doing what he is doing.



    Sometimes, all a kid needs is a chance. And he is definitely about to get one.
    He got his chance in 2016. With Greg Hardy completely out of the picture, Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence gone with league suspensions, and the defensive line offering little else, the table was set for Irving to play on a team so thin that Jack Crawford was starting for them early in the season.


    He would play in 15 games for 485 snaps (32.3 per game) and absolutely broke out as one of the top players on the entire defense. He took over Green Bay game in Week 6 where the Cowboys trounced the Packers. Irving was nearly unblockable and wound up with a sack and three forced fumbles.

    Irving contains Rodgers and gets the ball loose on a pivotal play with the game still in doubt.


    The same was true in December when he put together two weeks where he was credited with 3 sacks and 8 more QB hurries in home wins against Tampa Bay and Detroit. For the season, he led the 2016 Dallas Cowboys in “splash plays”, a metric I created that totals all defensive plays that result in either sacks, tackles for loss, passes batted down, holding penalties, runs or passes that are stuffed for no gain, and or fumbles. Basically, any time the defense wins a play due to something they did. And in 2016, David Irving accounted for more of those “splash plays” (27.5) than anyone else on the Cowboys defense (Sean Lee was next with 26 and Byron Jones followed with 17.5). It cost the Cowboys $525k in total compensation.


    The Cowboys, of course, had a remarkable 2016 that ended with the #1 seed – and would play at home against Green Bay again. On the defining play of the game, it was Irving who seemed to be held back (no penalty called) when Rodgers made the moment his.

    Irving, lined up over the center, won at the snap and then was taken to the ground as Rodgers escaped to make the throw to Jared Cook that set up the winning field goal.



    2016 was a massive success. Unfortunately, 2017 started with what seems to be the almost-obligatory 4-game suspension for a defensive linemen in Dallas. Cynics may suggest this PED flag explains his performances. Those in Irving's corner maintain he was the victim of a supplement that he bought over-the-counter and was unaware of a “secret ingredient”. Regardless, the season would start without him.

    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    Where is all this money going to come from?

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    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    Where is all this money going to come from?
    Some of it could come from dropping Dez, post June 1.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

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    I don't even care anymore.

    Trade him, sign him. Who gives a fuck?

    No championship in 20+ years.

    Won't matter anyway.

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    Senior Member Simpleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    Where is all this money going to come from?
    Dez, Witten, Scandrick, Crawford, and maybe Lee will all be gone by 2020 I'd imagine, those are five of the biggest contracts on the team right now.

    Figure out a way to fit him in now and there should be plenty of space by Year 2-4 of the contract.

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    Senior Member bbgun's Avatar
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    you could make the case that Lawrence is just as unreliable due to injuries and suspensions, yet he's the one who's gonna cash in

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    Senior Member vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbgun View Post
    you could make the case that Lawrence is just as unreliable due to injuries and suspensions, yet he's the one who's gonna cash in
    Last year's sack numbers were through the roof though.

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    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    Last year's sack numbers were through the roof though.
    Irving's would have been, too, had he not gotten hurt.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

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    Senior Member bbgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince View Post
    Last year's sack numbers were through the roof though.
    Mo Wilkerson had a contract year, got paid, and immediately stopped trying. That's my biggest fear. We're paying Lawrence for one elite year, not four years of "good to excellent."

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  12. #10
    Senior Member Simpleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbgun View Post
    Mo Wilkerson had a contract year, got paid, and immediately stopped trying. That's my biggest fear. We're paying Lawrence for one elite year, not four years of "good to excellent."
    He was very good in 2015, he just couldn't stay on the field for different reasons as a rookie and in 2016.

    As long as he stays healthy and doesn't do some dumb shit to get suspended I wouldn't worry.

    There's plenty of guys who got paid and packed it in and there's plenty of guys like Everson Griffen who didn't do much early on, improved around Year 3/4 and went on to be Pro Bowl players.

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