Last week, the Dallas Cowboys made an addition to their defensive line, trading for Michael Bennett. But were does the veteran fit in their defensive plans?
The most highly sought after positions on an NFL defense is the defensive line, and more specifically the pass rush. The Dallas Cowboys were sure to load up when they traded for defensive end Michael Bennett.
Usually, trading for someone answers some questions. This time around, it’s looking like fans are getting both questions with the answers. One of the biggest questions being how will Bennett fit in with the Cowboys?
Fitting at Defensive End
Dallas already has two stud defensive ends on their lineup. They have a bounce-back year from defensive end Robert Quinn and a slow start from DeMarcus Lawrence. They also had Tyrone Crawford, but he just had surgery on his hip and is out for the season.
Some can look at this and say “hey, he can just switch in when either Quinn or Lawrence needs a rest!” That’s not quite what Dallas can do. He wanted to leave the New England Patriots because he didn’t have as much of a role as he wanted.
Turning to him as anything less than an impact player will just bring him back to how upset he was in New England. From Weeks 1-6, Bennett’s snap percentage on defense regressed from 55 percent to 22 percent. In that small sample size, he still managed to rack up 2.5 sacks.
If not having him play enough snaps is going to cause a problem with him, then Dallas can switch someone out, right? Let’s start by looking at the new guy in Robert Quinn. Would the replacement of Quinn’s snaps with Bennett benefit the team?
Well, Quinn has had a terrific start to his career as a Cowboy. At the pace he is going at right now, he would have 19.0 sacks in a full 16 game season. Replacing someone who is performing that well does not seem logical.
What about replacing DeMarcus Lawrence then? He is having a bit of a slow start to the season anyway. He is on pace to have only 8.0 sacks this season.
Lawrence was just given a hefty contract extension and has shown he can always have an impact on the game. Sure the stats don’t look all that great, but he is playing better than the stats show. So far this season he has six hurries and three knockdowns.
Again, not outstanding numbers, but I would expect him to pick up his play a little after this bye week. That and taking away snaps from someone you just extended could cause a long-term problem between Lawrence and the team.