Russell Maryland Loves What He Sees from Cowboys’ D-Line

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Articles, The Team

Russell Maryland, the #1 overall pick of the 1991 NFL Draft, knows what it takes to be a great defensive lineman. At defensive tackle, he anchored the Cowboys’ d-line during the 1990s dynasty and won three Super Bowl rings.  

He returned to the Cowboys three seasons ago to help defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and defensive line assistant Leon Lett work with young defensive linemen. Maryland became a fixture at practice and saw the development of guys whose star was about the rise, mainly the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford.

The fact that Lawrence is having a breakout season and was named September’s NFC Defensive Player of the Month does not surprise Maryland.

“When I was there in 2015, DeMarcus was trying to find his own way as far as what moves he would use in his pass rush in his technique,” recalls Maryland. “He’s really, really worked on his technique. Every day in practice he’ll give you everything that he has. And it’s satisfying that now he’s really coming into his own having mastered that.

“Really the main reason why he’s been able to do so well is that now he’s healthy. He and Tyrone have been hampered by injuries and they haven’t been able to be at 100%. God willing, if they can stay injury-free this year, there’s no telling how high DeMarcus’ ceiling can be.”

“And just like DeMarcus, Tyrone can be a force when he’s healthy. I envy a guy like Tyrone because he can get in there and play in front of the center as I did for many years. But that’s all I could do, play in front of the center or the guard. You couldn’t put me out there at end. If you put me at end, something bad would happen to me (laughing). But Tyrone can play anywhere on the line. There’s a mantra in football and it’s ‘The More You Can Do’. Tyrone can do it all. You can slide him to end, inside into the three-technique, or play as a nose guard. He can do it all because he’s a strong, agile guy and he has a great motor.”

Maryland has not been coaching Cowboys linemen the past two seasons.

However, he continues to follow the team closely and absolutely loves what he sees from second-year defensive tackle Maliek Collins.

“The first time I met Maliek was a month ago at The Star,” notes Maryland. “I looked at him and he shook my hand and we were looking eye-to-eye. I thought, man, he’s a short, chubby guy like I was! I said, ‘I love you, Man!’.

“It’s really the quickness in his feet that is imperative when you’re playing the interior of the line with all that trash when you’re playing over that ball. I look at him as being somewhat like me because the quickness of my feet is what kept me in the game for 10 years. He has quick feet but he’s also strong. He’s a strong cat. Those two things will keep him in the NFL for as long as he wants to play. I’m really glad to see him steadily improving and not having that sophomore slump.”