FRISCO - For the Dallas Cowboys to have a deep playoff run in 2021, there will need to be some key contributors who step up on defense. Among the top X-factors is Randy Gregory, who is needed as a difference-maker in the pass-rush department.
Gregory has routinely struggled with staying out of trouble with the league office due to violations of substance abuse policies. That hasn't been the case this season as he's a full-go for training camp and Week 1 of the season.
During Wednesday's opening press conference at Cowboys training camp, Jerry Jones expressed how he's been 'really impressed' with how Gregory has navigated his 'life challenges.'
"I have been really impressed by the way he's stayed the course with legitimate life challenges," Jones said. 'I'm seeing him use the logic and the mentality from what he's been through and bringing it over to his game and to being the professional that he has the potential to be. He has a lot of tread on his tires."
Gregory put together a highly productive 2021 campaign despite the limited opportunities he received. In 10 appearances, he logged 21 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and 12 quarterback hits.
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Last season, there was a major case to be made that Gregory was deserving of far more snaps than what he received. By staying out of trouble, that very well could come in what is expected to be a 'big year' for the pass-rusher.
"He's a great teammate. He would be in the top five percent of not having issues [in the locker room]. In terms of being a person, he's always been worth the extra investment of time. It's what's out ahead of him that excites me the most," Jones said. "We've never questioned his talent. I look forward to him really having a big year."
New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has recently expressed how he has big plans for Gregory and that he 'was surprised' to see him not play more last season.
As long as Randy Gregory can continue having the off-the-field element under control, the 2021 campaign could end up featuring him realizing the potential many saw him capable of achieving when he entered the NFL.