Dallas Cowboys: 5 Things We Know

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Dec 7, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back

Darren McFadden

(20) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Dallas Cowboys defeated Washington Redskins 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys taught us some things Monday night in Maryland – Some good, some bad. Here are five things we know…

The Dallas Cowboys eked out a win against the division leading Washington Redskins on Monday. As a result of the win, they narrowed the gap to first place and effectively kept their playoffs hopes alive. The game was ugly. Really ugly.

And for most of the game, it was boring too. Subpar QB play is notorious for sucking the fun out of an evenly matched football game and this game featured subpar quarterbacking in mass quantities. Going beyond the final results and the statistical chances of now making the playoffs (still extremely slim), here are five things we learned from the Dallas Cowboys…

Things we know about the Dallas Cowboys #1: The pass-rush must be creative to work.

The Dallas Cowboys pass-rush is not good enough in its base form – plain and simple. Both the edge rushers and the inside rushers have struggled generating pressure in their typical schemes.

Running stunts (defensive linemen crossing their attack paths) has shown success from early in the season but Rod Marinelli has been hesitant use it since it opens the Cowboys to certain vulnerabilities like fast developing runs and screens towards the stunt.

If stunts are infrequent, then blitzing is an endangered species in a Marinelli defense. The Dallas Cowboys defense prefers to operate out of a single high safety scheme that works to beat head to head matchups, disguise LB coverage responsibilities, and take away the quick pass.

Yet despite this, Rod Marinelli stepped outside of his comfort zone and blitzed and stunted his way to pass-rush success on Monday. This will have to continue if the Cowboys want to have any defensive success in coming weeks.

Aaron Rodgers will usually pick a team apart if it blitzes as often as the Cowboys did on Monday, but the Cowboys need to stunt and blitz (and most importantly, fake blitz) from here on if they want to stop offenses.