With only four sacks in three games, the Dallas Cowboys lack a dominant pass rusher. They need to fix it sooner rather than later.
In the Dallas Cowboys first three games, they have faced quarterbacks Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, and Brian Hoyer. And the Cowboys’ defense has made all three quarterbacks look like perennial Pro Bowlers.
Manning is the best quarterback out of the trio with two Super Bowl titles under his belt. But with Cousins and Hoyer, there is no reason for them to resemble the second coming of Joe Montana.
The main reason these quarterbacks look like top tier signal callers is because Dallas’ defense lacks a legitimate pass rusher. Literally, the front four can’t get to the quarterback.
Four sacks? Please, the Minnesota Vikings recorded that many sacks in one half against the Carolina Panthers.
The Vikings tallied eight sacks on athletic quarterback Cam Newton. At the rate the Cowboys defense is recording sacks, they might not reach that total until mid season.
Of course, I’m aware that the Vikings stout defense has better players than the Cowboys do. However, that is no excuse for the lackluster pass rush.
Getting to the quarterback should be defensive coordinator’s Rod Marinelli’s main priority, by any means necessary.
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Marinelli likes to blitz his corners off of the edge and it hasn’t worked. The front four is supposed to bring pressure, but that’s not happening either. Why not blitz the linebackers?
Or use four defensive tackles like they did against the Washington Redskins. The lineup was very effective.
That particular defensive front confused the Redskins offensive line and created massive pressure on Cousins. The pressure resulted in Cousins throwing errant passes and knocked him off his mark.
I recognize Dallas is without edge rushers DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, both serving short and long-term suspensions. But for Hoyer to complete pass after pass and look like a franchise signal caller is saddening.
Fortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, the defense pressured and hurried Hoyer enough to force a fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter.
There is nothing wrong with a corner blitzing, but it’s not working. Marinelli needs to find other ways to get to the quarterback. When Lawrence returns, his presence will help significantly.
In order to help this defense, Lawrence needs to come out on fire and require a double team because if not, it’s going to be a very long season for the Cowboys defense.
Dallas needs sacks or a lot of pressure on all of the aforementioned quarterbacks or it’s going to be some long Sunday afternoons for the defense. Also, it’s going to force the Cowboys offense to put up 30 or more points to win any game.
Not only will the defense face some of the best franchise quarterbacks in the league, Dallas’ secondary will battle two of the best wideouts in the NFL. Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the league, and A.J. Green is right behind him.
The ultra-talented Brown regularly makes plays, embarrasses defensive backs, and scores touchdowns at ease. Green is a deep threat, can beat his man on any route combination, and thoroughly beat All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis earlier this season.
There is no need to imagine the damage Green will heap on Dallas’ secondary if the pass rush is nonexistent.
That’s why its imperative the Dallas defense find a way to get more sacks, hurries, pressures, and knockdowns on opposing quarterbacks.
Dallas doesn’t have any shut down corners in its defensive backfield. The Cowboys defensive backs are playing solid, though. But to ask them to stop the best receivers in the NFL with no help is ludicrous.
But if the pass rush remains below average, expect a bunch of shootouts and an edge rusher as the Dallas Cowboys number one priority in next year’s draft.