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England's Jack Crawford could be Falcons' hidden gem


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  • mcclure_vaughn.png&w=160&h=160&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClure
  • ESPN Staff Writer

 

ATLANTA -- Dan Quinn has raved about Jack Crawford all preseason, but the offseason acquisition who played the previous three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys has been overshadowed by the Atlanta Falcons' defensive additions of Dontari Poe and first-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley.

Maybe not anymore.

Crawford, a 6-foot-5-inch, 274-pound defensive lineman who was born in London and used to play basketball, showed his versatility and playmaking ability in Saturday's 24-14 exhibition loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Crawford had four combined tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit. His forced fumble was recovered by McKinley.

"I wouldn't say it was anything personal. I would just say it was the whole defensive line working together," Crawford said. "Some of it was like right place, right time. I felt like it was a group effort. We were all working together. It just came together, and I happened to make the play."

The Falcons plan to rely heavily on reigning NFL sack champion Vic Beasley rushing off the left edge, Poe and Grady Jarrett rushing up the middle, and McKinley and Adrian Clayborn coming off the right edge. But Crawford is a guy who can line up inside and out, and plays the run and pass with the same intensity.

"Jack Crawford, for those who have been following the team [and] the activity that he's had as a defensive lineman, it was good to see that come to life for us [Saturday]," Falcons coach Quinn said of the five-year veteran. "He's an active guy inside. He's taller than a lot of defensive tackles at 6-5, but he plays with the quickness of a lighter guy."

Crawford was limited some this preseason after suffering a groin injury in practice. But he's back healthy again, and it showed against the Cardinals.

"At the time, it did affect me, but I haven't had an issue with it so far," Crawford said of the injury. "Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. But it's really about the effort. At the end of the day, it's going out there and having the same mentality and going about every game the same way. And that mentality is that we're going to get the ball back for the offense."

Crawford, who enters the season with 9.5 career sacks, including a career-high four with Dallas in 2015, didn't want to take much credit for his second-quarter takedown of Drew Stanton.

"It was a group sack, really, because Takk got the quarterback off the spot," Crawford said. "I had just kind of cleaned it up. The D-line works together. So does the whole defense."

 

 

http://www.espn.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/68755/englands-jack-crawford-could-be-falcons-hidden-gem

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Crawford gets penetration at the DT position which is a very special quality and really is a great fit in our defensive scheme.

I was watching tape of him playing in Dallas when we signed him and was like "wow, although the stats don't show it, this dude is seriously disruptive".

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3 hours ago, droopy1592 said:

And when everyone on the line is disruptive...

You want to talk about making a QB uncomfortable.

The QB can shake an ocassional defender breaking into backfield, but when this can come from multiple defenders through any of the gaps on any given snap it's an entirely different deal. You may step away to avoid one defender and get crushed blindside  by another.  You don't start hearing footsteps, you hear foot stomps!

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Crawford was a 5th round pick and had only started 12 games in his career before being picked up by Falcons.

He only had 9.5 sacks and 43 tackles in 5 seasons. I knew very little about him when we signed him except to watch his 2016 highlights and saw he was getting in backfield a lot....that was it though.  

Lets see how he does against other OLs but I really like what I see so far. 

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I rewatched the plays he made and on every occasion he was largely untouched by his opponent lining up in front of him. Don't just believe me but see for yourself. Pay attention to the offensive lines first steps in slowmo.

Now Arizona might have pulled some guards and stuff for this to happen but imo he did not dominate his opponent. He made the most of what he was given and showed tremendous burst. I hope for Reggie White style of play but I'm afraid we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

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30 minutes ago, Flare said:

I rewatched the plays he made and on every occasion he was largely untouched by his opponent lining up in front of him. Don't just believe me but see for yourself. Pay attention to the offensive lines first steps in slowmo.

Now Arizona might have pulled some guards and stuff for this to happen but imo he did not dominate his opponent. He made the most of what he was given and showed tremendous burst. I hope for Reggie White style of play but I'm afraid we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

He shed blocks on all 3 of his highlight plays. 

The TFL, sack, and forced fumble. If it looks like he wasn't blocked it's because he made a move to get in that position. Definitely can't downplay his production yesterday. 

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3 hours ago, gazoo said:

Crawford gets penetration at the DT position which is a very special quality and really is a great fit in our defensive scheme.

I was watching tape of him playing in Dallas when we signed him and was like "wow, although the stats don't show it, this dude is seriously disruptive".

Agree. I also watched a little tape when we got him and was thinking he could be the steal of the off-season. He's going to make our already hellacious pass rush even more lethal.

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1 hour ago, The O.D.B said:

Loved it when we grabbed him. He was one of my favorite Cowboys. dude can seriously impact every game he's in. I'm surprised he's from England, I generally think Europes athletes are a bit soft. Glad it's one of our guys that's proving me wrong.

American athletes would be perceived as soft, I think the English are hard buggers.

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20 hours ago, notthatcool said:

This D Line could be special. Most talented line I can remember in atl. 

Coleman ,kerney, Abraham. That's assuming you are old enough to remember these guys. It was my favorite defensive line we've seen in full season action. Too bad Jason toast Webster and ed hartwell was also on this d

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1 hour ago, Xero said:

Coleman ,kerney, Abraham. That's assuming you are old enough to remember these guys. It was my favorite defensive line we've seen in full season action. Too bad Jason toast Webster and ed hartwell was also on this d

Sadly Kerney got the injury bug eventually.

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20 hours ago, ATLFalcons11 said:

He shed blocks on all 3 of his highlight plays. 

The TFL, sack, and forced fumble. If it looks like he wasn't blocked it's because he made a move to get in that position. Definitely can't downplay his production yesterday. 

The guard #73 Metzen is terrible on the first 2 or Crawford is just that good.

I'm personally leaning towards a narrow hand base on the guards behalf, but then again Crawford can only act on what's in front of him.

As I said, I do hope I'm being a negative Nancy here cause a Coleman 2.0 would be a nice addition to an already interesting line.

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22 hours ago, gazoo said:

Watch this film breakdown of him while he was playing in Dallas. Crawford is versile and has many tools in his kit to break through the line.

Hes got long arms (33.5") and huge powerful hands to kee OL off him ( 10.25) and 

http://www.dallascowboys.com/video/2016/04/12/film-room-jack-crawford-brings-heat 

 

Great find gazoo! I've been trying to find highlights(good ones) of Jack's time in Dallas for a minute. 

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21 hours ago, The O.D.B said:

Loved it when we grabbed him. He was one of my favorite Cowboys. dude can seriously impact every game he's in. I'm surprised he's from England, I generally think Europes athletes are a bit soft. Glad it's one of our guys that's proving me wrong.

Ummm Rugby...

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