Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has an uncanny knack for both “telling it like is” and “telling it like he wishes it to be.”
And sometimes does both in the same sentence.
“We had a rough start.” said Lawrence as he and the Cowboys prep for Sunday’s Week 17 maybe-play-in-playoff game. “But I feel like the guys came together strongly and we're playing awesome football right now. All we can do is keep playing awesome football and let everything else fall into place.”
The Cowboys have “righted the ship,” to use COO Stephen Jones’ words, in the sense that they have forged a three-game win streak.
And for one of the rare stretches this year, the defense has done its share, during the stretch having forced 10 takeaways while allowing an average of just 19 points per game.
Is it because they’ve feasted on have-nots Cincinnati, San Francisco and Philadelphia with their combined record of 14-29-2 - have-nots who are floundering without their planned top QBs?
“We don't have Dak, so I don't understand that comment," he said of that line of thinking. “It doesn't matter who we're playing against. Everybody is an NFL-caliber player, and I feel like everybody is good enough if they're in the NFL."
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Indeed, who are the Cowboys to be dismissive of “have-nots” when just a few weeks ago, this team missing Prescott due to season-ending ankle surgery was but 3-9? Additionally, what is the shame in beating teams that you’re supposed to beat? Don’t all the good teams do that, too?
"It doesn't matter who's in front of us, we've got to keep chopping down wood to make it where we want to go," Lawrence said.
The Giants maybe be vulnerable to what Lawrence and Randy Gregory and friends can do up front (New York ranks 30th in the NFL with 48 sacks allowed) and young QB Daniel Jones is short on premium offensive weapons.
It it Lawrence’s plan to make Jones feel ... unsafe.
He's still a young quarterback, has a lot to learn in the NFL," Lawrence said. "It's all about quarterbacks feeling safe, and if their offensive line makes them feel safe enough to hold the ball for three or four seconds, so be it.
“But that's not (going to be) the case here. You'll see on Sunday."
If the Cowboys can do that, and then watch on TV on Sunday night as Washington loses at Philly, Lawrence’s Cowboys will be 7-9 (which is still kind of rough) but will also be division champs and playoff-bound (which would be kind of awesome).