The Cowboys' woes continue.
On Wednesday, pass rusher David Irving's suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy was upheld, which means he'll be forced to miss the first four games of the Cowboys' season. He won't be the only Cowboys' pass rusher missing time. Randy Gregory, the team's second-round pick in 2015, is suspended for least one year.
That's obviously not great news for the Cowboys considering that defense is the weakest part of their playoff-caliber roster. It's also not great news considering it's becoming something of an alarming trend in Dallas.
This isn't the first offseason that the Cowboys are being hammered by suspension to their defensive front-seven. It's actually the third straight offseason that stuff like this keeps on happening to them.
Since 2015, the Cowboys' defensive front-seven has been hit with eight suspensions of at least four games. In fairness to the Cowboys, Gregory and Rolando McClain are responsible for five of them.
Here's the list, which was compiled by NFL Research:
- 2017 David Irving -- Four games
- 2017 Randy Gregory -- At least one year
- 2016 Rolando McClain -- At least one year
- 2016 Randy Gregory -- Four games
- 2016 Rolando McClain -- 10 games
- 2016 DeMarcus Lawrence -- Four games
- 2015 Greg Hardy -- Four games
- 2015 Rolando McClain -- Four games
Last year, Irving notched just four sacks, but three of those came in a two-game stretch late in the regular season. Without Irving and Gregory, the Cowboys are now depending heavily on Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Lawrence and rookie Taco Charlton to provide the bulk of their pass rush. None of those players are standouts -- they're solid contributors, which is what makes the losses of Irving and Gregory more impactful. The Cowboys need every capable pass-rushing body they can get so they can use an effective committee to get after opposing quarterbacks.
Don't blame the Cowboys for all of the problems -- only so much is in their control -- but don't give them a free pass, either. After all, they knew what they were getting when they signed Hardy (who was accused of assaulting Nicole Holder) and drafted Gregory (who failed a drug test at the combine).
Regardless of where the blame should be directed, this troubling trend is not ideal, especially not for a team that is already weak on defense and views itself as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.