Dallas Cowboys: 5 ways to generate more interior pressure on defense

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jaylon smith Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

How the Dallas Cowboys generate more interior pressure

No. 4: Jaylon Smith

Say what you will about Jaylon Smith (and I’m sure you don’t need prompting or permission), but Jaylon is a beast when running downhill. His knee injury may have sapped his ability to turn and change direction but his penetrating skills remain intact.

While it would be crazy to think Jaylon could be an edge rusher and any kind of regular basis, it’s not absurd to see him as a regular force blitzing up the middle. Jaylon was one of the highest rated blitzers in college and he’s shown the same ability in the limited times he’s done it in the NFL.

Last season, Dallas had to lean on Jaylon heavily (Jaylon played 98% of the defensive snaps last year). With one of the highest usage ratings in the NFL, Jaylon wasn’t afforded the opportunity to blitz with reckless abandon. First of all, he was playing on fumes. And second, he was needed elsewhere given the lack of depth Dallas had at LB.

Now that the Cowboys are loaded at the LB position, they don’t need to lean on any single player for so many snaps. They can rotate players, keeping them fresh, and allowing them to focus on what they do best.

What do you feel better about Jaylon doing, dropping back into coverage or crashing up the A-Gap and/orB-Gap on a blitz? Me too, and I imagine the Cowboys feel very similarly.

Giving Jaylon a lighter workload and using him more as a downhill players is a great way to increase interior pressure rate and get the most out of Jaylon.