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DeMarcus Ware opens up about Cowboys’ new defensive scheme

Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware

Former Dallas Cowboys edge-rusher DeMarcus Ware sees plenty of potential with respect his former team’s defensive front in 2020.

The Cowboys hired Mike Nolan to be their new defensive coordinator on Mike McCarthy’s staff this season, and Ware said Nolan’s 3-4 scheme serves to benefit the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory (via Jori Epstein of USA TODAY):

“[Marinelli’s scheme was] more about coverage and the four guys getting to the quarterback … Now you’ve got a whole new person coming in and the 3-4 defense is all predicated on getting pressure, pushing the pocket up the middle, stopping the run, bringing the outside linebackers to create those turnovers …

“That’s why DeMarcus Lawrence and Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory can excel in this defense, because you might get a tight end. You might have to be on a running back because there’s five guys rushing now instead of four, but they can interchange those guys. And that’s what makes it hard on those offenses because they can’t block you …

“With this hybrid-type defense and talking to DeMarcus Lawrence, he’s ready to, ‘Hey, DeMarcus can you maybe come by and show me how to stand up?’ That made me smile. I’ll teach him a little bit of the outside linebacker position …

“Knowing they’re going to be a little more hybrid style, I think is really going to benefit them.”

The Cowboys now know Smith will be getting an opportunity after he was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Smith has not played since 2015, but the Cowboys are hoping he and Gregory (who had six sacks in 2018) can team with Lawrence to give Nolan’s pass rush more options and flexibility.

Lawrence was slightly less impactful in 2019, but might benefit from more freedom and more defenders in the box.