Grimaldi: Cowboys will be tested but have depth to survive Gerald McCoy injury

boozeman

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Cowboys will be tested but have depth to survive Gerald McCoy injury
The Dallas Cowboys suffered their first big injury with the loss of Gerald McCoy for the upcoming season, but they have players who can step in to fill the absence.


Author: Ben Grimaldi
Published: 4:13 PM CDT August 17, 2020
Updated: 4:13 PM CDT August 17, 2020

DALLAS — There has already been a serious injury that alters the composition of the roster with only one real practice in the books for the Dallas Cowboys. Such is life in the NFL. After waiting eight long months, the team finally put the pads on Monday morning and it didn’t take long to lose an impact player.

The initial reports were that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy went down with a leg injury in practice. The first word on the injury wasn’t good, as the team feared that McCoy had a serious injury. The news trickled in from there with the assumptions becoming worse and worse in regards to his 2020 fate.

By the time the official details came out, it was confirmed that the Cowboys’ big-ticket free agent signing for their defense had ruptured his quadriceps tendon and would be lost for the 2020 season.

McCoy was one of the valued additions brought in by the Cowboys to beef up the interior of their defensive line. Dallas has been searching for someone with McCoy’s presence in the middle of the defense for far too long and his injury will present a challenge for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
The Cowboys will miss McCoy, who had received praise from new head coach Mike McCarthy as recently as just before the fateful practice that claimed his season.

With the MRI results confirming the injury, the defense will need to adjust quickly. McCoy was brought in to help anchor the inside of the defensive line and was being counted on for his ability to disrupt the passing game, as well as be a run stopper. The veteran was also signed on to help mentor the young defensive linemen.
As much as it will hurt to not have one of the big free agents on the field for the Cowboys, the team does have some versatility to get by without McCoy. Tyrone Crawford has split his time in the NFL at both DE and DT, so he can always kick inside if needed.

The team still has Antwaun Woods as another veteran option and the newfound playing time could signal a huge opportunity for last year’s second-round pick Trysten Hill and this year’s third-rounder Neville Gallimore.
 

Cowboysrock55

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Here is the video.


Makes your blood boil when you see how this meaningless exercise that was not even natural for the player cause an injury.
I agree, why have a star player esentially playing the role of intentional rag doll. Like any turd could have done that in the drill.

Honestly though I think a lot of injuries are going to happen this year as players didn't have a normal offseason to prepare.
 

boozeman

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I agree, why have a star player esentially playing the role of intentional rag doll. Like any turd could have done that in the drill.

Honestly though I think a lot of injuries are going to happen this year as players didn't have a normal offseason to prepare.
I think that offseason thing is real.

But seriously, this drill...I just don't get it.

You put a guy who doesn't normally position his body in an upright stance like that and you have a 300 LB guy strike him.

This is a one-sided drill that I don't see as serving a real purpose.

If anything, put an OL in that position.

I know we are short on bodies, but this one just doesn't seem right to me.

Yeah, maybe it is common drill. I will say this year is the first time I have heard of it. We heard also with Trysten Hill performing as an OL stand-in with other practices.
 

Cowboysrock55

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I think that offseason thing is real.

But seriously, this drill...I just don't get it.

You put a guy who doesn't normally position his body in an upright stance like that and you have a 300 LB guy strike him.

This is a one-sided drill that I don't see as serving a real purpose.
You could literally have a blocking sled fill that role in this drill.
 

p1_

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Cowboys lose Gerald McCoy for 2020: Dallas' plan to replace the All-Pro is potent and easily installed

Things don't look as bleak in 2020 as they would've in years prior

Patrik Walker



There's no way around it -- the Dallas Cowboys just suffered a massive blow by way of the injury to Gerald McCoy. The three-time All-Pro defensive lineman won't get a chance to play a single snap for the club in his first year, after leaving the team's first padded practice halfway through with that was determined to be a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. The injury will require season-ending surgery and as McCoy readies to head to injured reserve, the Cowboys begin trying to figure out how to replace what would've been his sizable snap count and potential production, but there's a silver lining to this very dark cumulus could.



It's the fact that, while Mike McCarthy didn't plan for this specific injury, he did have the foresight to plan for it in general -- by convincing the Cowboys to orchestrate one of their best free agency and NFL draft runs in recent memory.



This offseason, they not only signed McCoy to a three-year deal, but were also able to acquire Dontari Poe, a now-reinstated Aldon Smith ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, following those moves up with the selection of third-round pick Neville Gallimore and fifth-round pick Bradlee Anae. They weren't done there, however, going on to sign Everson Griffen just ahead of the first padded practice, and there's still a ton of hope the league will soon reinstate Randy Gregory, the latter having seen his application for reinstatement stalled by questionable bureaucratic issues that are supposedly rooted in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But that's not all, because this only lists the new additions and/or talent returning from suspension.



There's also the matter of Tyrone Crawford, now fully recovered from hip surgery, and a player the Cowboys already had big plans for in 2020. While the initial plan was to have Crawford operate more on the right edge opposite DeMarcus Lawrence -- yet another All-Pro on the Cowboys defensive line -- he's also spent more than his fair share of time at 3-tech, and now becomes the incumbent starter until further notice. And with McCoy sidelined, former second-round pick Trysten Hill will get a lot of playing time going forward, as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 rookie season and make a name for himself under a much less forgiving regime of McCarthy, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.



If ever there was a time for Hill to step up, it's right now.



For those wondering if the team will suddenly turn and grab Damon "Snacks" Harrison, a source tells CBS Sports if they were to make that call, it wouldn't be because they've lost McCoy. Why? Well, simply put, a 1-tech isn't a 3-tech. And, to that end, the Cowboys love what they have at nose tackle. Additionally, the team still has no interest whatsoever in Jadeveon Clowney at anything near his current asking price, separate sources continue to affirm -- which is why they signed Griffen instead.



Now where was I?



Oh yes, the Cowboys are enjoying an embarrassing amount of depth throughout their defensive front, in a year that looks precipitously different than the ones driven by Jason Garrett. The team has already admitted players like Poe and McCoy would likely not be on the team if Garrett and former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli were still around, because it's "not what they ordered" over the past several seasons. And because of the new acquisitions, those who would've normally been starters are now backups -- e.g. Antwaun Woods, who finally signed his exclusive rights free agent tender just ahead of camp. Truth be told, the Cowboys [still] have such a logjam of talent on the defensive line that Woods has to battle with Gallimore for the right to back up Poe, just as Dorance Armstrong must fend off Anae and second-year talent Joe Jackson for the right to do the same behind Lawrence.



Also, Gallimore can flex from 1-tech to 3-tech, and heralded undrafted rookie Ron'Dell Carter has also proven he can bully quarterbacks from that role. Carter received calls from 25 NFL teams immediately following the draft before choosing the Cowboys, and the former JMU star pass rusher joins the team having delivered 12 sacks in 2019 along with 27 tackles for loss. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound rookie will also come in handy when the Cowboys change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme in-game, in a hybrid system promised and currently being constructed by Nolan.



And it's that very hybrid system that also lessens the blow of losing McCoy, because it takes a body off of the defensive line anyway, and adds it to the linebacker or secondary unit. And speaking of linebackers, the move to switch the roles of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith -- putting the latter at WILL (weakside) -- will now seem like a master stroke of clairvoyance by the coaching staff, because Smith will be tasked much more than ever with using his speed and explosiveness to assist the pass rush as needed. Oh, and Sean Lee is coming off of one of his best seasons ever as a pro, and certainly one of his most durable.



Literally speaking, all of this plays a part for the Cowboys in how they'll move forward without McCoy.



From the list of big name acquisitions to talent returning for them in 2020 to linebacker role swaps to the hybrid scheme everyone will now operate under, there's nothing that indicates the loss of McCoy will somehow make the sky fall in Dallas. In years prior, yes, but their roster vest is much more bulletproof in 2020, thanks to the foresight of a Super Bowl-winning head coach and his staff.



They'll feel the sting, sure, but there's no need to dial 911.u
 

Iamtdg

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There is a reason we have camp fodder every year. Jesus.
 

Simpleton

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Those types of drills happen all across the league and before games when linemen will kind of simulate opposing linemen during what is more or less a warm-up. They're just simulating getting off the ball basically.

The fact that McCoy popped a major muscle doing something that is pretty much zero contact makes me think it was a ticking time bomb that would've happened eventually one way or the other.
 

Genghis Khan

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The fact that McCoy popped a major muscle doing something that is pretty much zero contact makes me think it was a ticking time bomb that would've happened eventually one way or the other.

That's probably true.
 

boozeman

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Those types of drills happen all across the league and before games when linemen will kind of simulate opposing linemen during what is more or less a warm-up. They're just simulating getting off the ball basically.

The fact that McCoy popped a major muscle doing something that is pretty much zero contact makes me think it was a ticking time bomb that would've happened eventually one way or the other.
I get that he could have been yoked up, but that drill is something I have never heard of. Maybe that is normal, just curious.
 

Simpleton

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I get that he could have been yoked up, but that drill is something I have never heard of. Maybe that is normal, just curious.
Sure, it's definitely odd although I think it's very common in some form or fashion, you can see DLinemen doing similar shit here before games warming up against each other:


and here:


They're basically warmups, not even real drills, the McCoy injury just seems like a crazy fluke. Woods seems to step on his foot a bit maybe but I mean come on, if an NFL player popped a quad and missed a season every time someone stepped on their foot while they were standing somewhat upright you wouldn't even have an NFL because everybody would be out all the time.

I wouldn't blame the drill, I think it's just a freak occurrence and probably something that would've happened to McCoy eventually at some point in time.
 

mcnuttz

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Those types of drills happen all across the league and before games when linemen will kind of simulate opposing linemen during what is more or less a warm-up. They're just simulating getting off the ball basically.

The fact that McCoy popped a major muscle doing something that is pretty much zero contact makes me think it was a ticking time bomb that would've happened eventually one way or the other.
Maybe, but it popped when he had his foot stepped on as he was going backwards.

Seems more like a freak injury than a worn tendon, but who knows.
 

Simpleton

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Even though everybody shits on Hill, and for good reason, the guy was still a legitimate late 3rd-ish type of prospect. Throw in Gallimore and now you have two guys who were relatively high picks, one with a year of experience, who stylistically should be similar to McCoy.

If the coaching staff is a good as we think they are, and assuming Hill doesn't just have his head completely up his ass, we should be able to patchwork our way to replacing McCoy between the two 3rd rounders, Crawford and Woods.
 
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Genghis Khan

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Even though everybody shits on Hill, and for good reason, the guy was still a legitimate late 3rd-ish type of prospect. Throw in Gallimore and now you have two guys who were relatively high picks, one with a year of experience, who stylistically should be similar to McCoy.

If the coaching staff is a good as we think they are, and assuming Hill doesn't just have his head completely up his ass, we should be able to patchwork our way to replacing McCoy between the two 3rd rounders, Crawford and Woods.

I do think Hill has talent. I actually liked the pick at the time. But after a year of little or no production, there definitely seems to be something missing with him. I don't know if it's desire or dedication or whatever, but hopefully he puts it together.
 

Simpleton

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I do think Hill has talent. I actually liked the pick at the time. But after a year of little or no production, there definitely seems to be something missing with him. I don't know if it's desire or dedication or whatever, but hopefully he puts it together.
Yea, although there's plenty of examples of players who don't do shit as rookies and then go on to be starters or even Pro Bowl players. I'm not saying I expect Hill to even start, but if he can just give us a solid 20 rotational snaps a game then you're happy.

We took him a round too early and he's the physical manifestation of the Marinelli hatred and all the reasons that people hated him, but ultimately he was still a top 100 type prospect and if he has his head on straight I think he can give us something in a rotation.

I'm not going to hang him out to dry for not doing much as a rookie when the team was in disarray and pretty much a complete mess from October onward, and if the new staff is talking about him positively I'm willing to see what happens.
 

p1_

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I’m hoping that some of Hills issues last year were about his relative level of maturity. He should have the requisite skill to be a solid rotation guy starting out. Let’s see if he can assert himself given this huge opportunity. Perhaps Tomsula can work with him
 
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