After calling out the team’s “soft” defense, Lawrence fired back at his critics — an increasingly frustrated Cowboys fan base — with an expletive-laden rant in the comments section of a now-deleted Instagram post:
@everybody f*** all y’all I play my heart for the Cowboys and my brothers. With playing through injuries since day 1. I will never stop. If you don’t see me enough stop watching stats n watch the game. F*** off my page with that b**** s***. I handle my own. #RealSinceTheStart #90
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Lawrence is in the second of the five-year, $105 million extension he signed in April 2019. He vowed to improve on a disappointing five-sack campaign, disputing the notion that he checked out upon getting paid. The Cowboys hedged their bets last month by converting $15 million of his 2020 base salary into a signing bonus, tacking a nullifiable year onto his pact.
The salary-cap maneuver looks smart in hindsight; Lawrence’s yet to make good on his word. Through four games, the two-time Pro Bowl selection has totaled 11 tackles and one pass breakup. No sacks. No quarterback hits. No meaningful impact.
To be fair, Lawrence is battling a nagging knee ailment that’s limited his practice participation and reduced his usage to 48% of defensive snaps (143). He also faces continual double-team blocks and attention from opposing linemen. Injury is his biggest alibi.
Scheme isn’t. While coordinator Mike Nolan’s hard-to-digest system has come under fire, it’s unlocked the full potential of linebacker Aldon Smith, who ranks second in the NFL with four sacks. Smith, out of football for a half-decade, is performing at the level Dallas expected from Lawrence, whose pay grade is well established.
“It’s not my job to worry about the scheme or worrying about what the next man is doing,” Lawrence said Sunday, via The Athletic. “I already have a hard enough job myself. It’s all about attacking and I don’t feel like we’re doing that at all as a unit.”
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McCarthy, Nolan Respond to Lawrence
The boisterous 28-year-old feels the Cowboys defense is absent of grit and toughness, falling short of their collective standard. This was a roundabout shot at Nolan more so than his teammates despite the “soft” remark.
McCarthy refused to publicly admonish Lawrence for his comments but disagreed with the insinuation the 49-38 defeat to Cleveland was due to effort — or lack thereof.
“You’ve got to be really careful when you start challenging professional athletes about effort, especially from a distance. We don’t have an effort issue,” he said Monday, via The Athletic. “If we had an effort issue, that game would’ve been over in the middle of the 3rd quarter.”
Nolan echoed McCarthy in that Dallas must “stay the course” and similarly dismissed Lawrence’s emotionally-charged assessment.
“There have been no effort issues, in my opinion. We played very poorly. I hope we don’t have to live through another one of those,” he said, via The Athletic.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL