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Cowboys' defensive line ready to make a statement in 2018

Self-titled "Hot Boys" bring youth and energy to pass rush

OXNARD, Calif. – The Dallas defensive line could be one of the Cowboys’ strengths this year, and they are not even at full strength yet.

"You've got to stay tuned. I mean we are going to put on a big show this year," said DeMarcus Lawrence, who is coming off of his best season as a pro with 14.5 sacks. "The old Dallas Cowboys ways, just like Mr. Jones likes it. We are going to ball."

Lawrence might have earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2017, but now he wants to lead the Cowboys back into the playoffs with a defensive line he is proud of.

"We are just young, hungry dogs," says Lawrence. "Just so much talent on this defense. It's all about developing this young talent together.”

One way to develop the young talent is to play together on and off the field. It all starts with the defensive line’s new identity.

"We call ourselves the ‘Hot Boys’ for a reason,” brags Lawrence. "We are going to stay on fire all year long.”

One of the young guys the "Hot Boys" will be counting on is the man that came up with the name itself: second-year defensive end Taco Charlton.

"Us being so young and hungry to prove ourselves, showing what we can do out here, run around and hit and make plays,” explains Charlton. "I think we will be good and have a bright future ahead of us with the coaches coaching us up."

Tyrone Crawford is the elder statesman for the Cowboys’ defensive line, about to start his seventh year in the NFL. When asked if he liked the D-line's new nickname, he said was all in.

"Yes sir," smiled Crawford. "Taco Charlton came up with that and I like roll with it."

The "Hot Boys" are just getting warmed up, because they are still missing three of their own: Malik Collins is trying to bounce back from foot surgery; Randy Gregory has still not been cleared to put on the pads after being reinstated by the NFL following a year-long drug ban; and David Irving will have to miss the first four games of the season after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

"I am extremely proud of this defensive line that we’ve got, and it's only going to get better," boasts Crawford. "We’ve got guys who are still out and that's what no one is talking about right now. Those guys are going to come back with a vengeance too. It will be awesome."