The Cowboys hope they’ll get Randy Gregory back this season, but they’re confident Robert Quinn can rush the passer in his absence.
DeMarcus Lawrence is the biggest name on the Cowboys defensive line, but he can’t be the team’s only pass rusher. That’s exactly why Dallas is taking a one-year flyer on Robert Quinn heading into the 2019 season.
The organization hopes Randy Gregory will be reinstated by the NFL at some point during the regular season, but there’s no indication when that might happen. In other words, Quinn is going to be the starter opposite Lawrence for an appreciable portion of the season. The Cowboys are going to need the 29-year-old veteran to produce.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli isn’t concerned about what Quinn has left at this point in his career. He believes the defensive end still has some “juice” left in his legs. He’s counting on Quinn to “bring some good stuff” to his defense this season.
In a perfect world, the Cowboys would see Quinn revert back to his stellar form he flashed for the Rams back in 2013. He posted an eye-popping 19 sacks for the then-St. Louis team that year en route to a Pro Bowl berth. That’s considerably better than the mediocre 6.5 sacks he tallied for the Dolphins in 2018.
Head coach Jason Garrett and his coaching staff should be satisfied with anything in between those two extremes. Quinn isn’t the same player he was during his prime, but he’s fully capable of using his experience in the league to produce sacks. He also should get plenty of one-on-one opportunities playing opposite Lawrence.
The athleticism the Cowboys have at linebacker also should make life easier for Quinn up front. He can rush the passer with the comfort that he has quality cover if he gets caught out of position. Athletic linebackers like Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith should allow Quinn to rush up the field with reckless abandon on most passing downs.
Quinn isn’t the biggest defensive free agency signing of the season, but he’s a very important addition for the Cowboys. He and his coaching staff will both be hoping for a career renaissance in 2019.