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The Drive: One snap with Randy Gregory

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks received no compensatory picks for the 2019 NFL Draft. This cements the team in talent-acquisition hell for at least this offseason. That sucks, of course, and forces Seattle to either further mortgage its future by spending big in free agency or attempt to find post-hype players capable of possibly still breaking out.

One such player is Randy Gregory. Gregory was once compared favorably to Dion Jordan. Which is to say he’s long-limbed, tall, athletic, and has mostly failed to utilize those tools to succeed in the NFL. Jordan was suspended three times for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy. Gregory by contrast simply likes dro. In the man’s own words:

‘“I think I’m known for being a pothead,” Gregory said from the ice cream shop table in California, where marijuana is legal, “and I don’t think that’s the case.”

‘Gregory says he identifies with those battling depression and anxiety, and he turned to smoking to counter their effects. NFL rules forbid marijuana. So came the suspensions of 10 and then four and then 16 games.’

It is my opinion that the NFL’s policy is in error and the only mistake Gregory made was not circumventing it. I will leave it at that.

Now let us look at a forced fumble by Gregory which led to a Jaylon Smith touchdown. It’s quite disappointing.

3rd & 5 at DAL 34

(1:41 - 1st) Jaylon Smith 69 Yrd Fumble Recovery B.Maher extra point is GOOD, Center-L.Ladouceur, Holder-C.Jones.

Tampa Bay goes into a five-wide empty backfield look. Gregory is the third of four Cowboys to begin his pass rush, after 51 Caraun Reed and 90 Demarcus Lawrence.

This carries over into his get off, which is a step slow.

You may also notice that Gregory is still pretty slender. He was said to have a projectable frame but weighed only 235 pounds at the NFL Combine. Gregory then is not a big defensive end but a LEO type, who likely would continue to play outside in sub packages while Frank Clark either moves to the defensive left or kicks inside.

Gregory punctuates an outside move with this:

Which I think is the squat and defensive swipe made famous by Daphne in her retreat from Phoebus, but Gregory’s quick, very quick, and though this path of pursuit is hopeless against a quarterback with better pocket awareness, it seemed to work fine against Jameis Winston. Eventually.

Lawrence and Collins 96 run an end-tackle game, freeing Collins. The Cowboys are able to generate pass rush with three. Gregory has salvaged his rush and will use his quickness to factor back into this play.

When Winston sidesteps pressure and begins to run into the open field, Gregory is almost in position to make a play.

Winston leads Gregory the rest of the way there, offering up the ball as bait.

And in full speed:

Gregory’s strip sack is a bit like Christopher Columbus setting out for the East Indies only to discover Guanahani: Of questionable method but unquestionable value to his employer. One could not expect it to work a second time. But one shouldn’t wholly discount the value of actually doing it. That final closing burst if nothing else was pretty wicked. One might say that Gregory messed up a lot at first, wasting his time in far flung pursuits too quixotic to really achieve anything but kept running and running and running until his will and talent brought him to a great opportunity—previously lost.