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Cowboys Can Be ‘Top-5 NFL Defense,’ Says DeMarcus Lawrence

“We could be top-five in this league. It’s all about our effort and continuing to show up and work each and every day.” - Demarcus Lawrence.

FRISCO - Demarcus Lawrence has never shied away from gigantic goals, and after his return to the field as part of the Dallas Cowboys win at New Orleans on Thursday, he once again made that clear.

"We could be top-five in this league,'' he said about the Dallas defense. "It’s all about our effort and continuing to show up and work each and every day.''

That would require quite a turnaround, as the 8-4 Cowboys are presently a bottom-six team in yardage allowed while ranked just 14th in points allowed. (Dallas is No. 1 in interceptions with 19.) But part of Lawrence's point is about what owner Jerry Jones calls "the cavalry'' - the return of Lawrence last week, and maybe this week, just in time for an NFC East showdown at Washington, fellow D-linemen Randy Gregory and Neville Gallimore.

He also recognizes the advancement of rookie Micah Parsons, a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Said Tank: "I feel like the more the season went on, you could see his speed start coming alive in the games. He’s a fast player, excellent instincts, he’s a go-getter. He’s the lone lion. Shout out to Micah.''

Parsons might now be Dallas' best defensive player, and its leader, two crowns that Lawrence has long worn. Sustaining a broken foot in practice prior to the Cowboys’ second game of the season, the veteran do-it-all defensive end missed 10 straight before making his triumphant return in the 27-17 win over the Saints.

Playing 50 percent of the defensive snaps (35 in total), the standout looked in top form, logging three tackles, one quarterback hit, six hurried and a pair of batted-down passes.

The Cowboys thought there might be a ramp-up here, or maybe some rust.

Did Tank show rust?

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“He did not,” said defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who stepped in for head coach Mike McCarthy (COVID) for the night.

Lawrence said the atmosphere was "electric'' and noted, "It’s an honor to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys, have a great organization that stands by you and have a great that’s right beside you and go to war with you each and every day.''

He also said he is unworried about the foot injury.

"I’ve been starving for the last nine games,'' he said. "I ain’t got time to think about nothing but the quarterback.''

Well, that and lofty goals. High in the rankings. High in the standings.

"I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,'' Lawrence said. "I know we have great players in this locker room, but it’s all about honing in on our details and coming out here and getting a complete game.''

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