The Rise Of The Rushmen In Dallas

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rod Marinelli has always stressed that being quick off of the snap is vital to generating a superior performance from his rushmen and on Sunday the Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen put his teaching to good use against the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams offensive line had issues all afternoon keeping up with Marinelli's charges. Beginning with the first series of the game, the Dallas Cowboys "rushmen" were able to keep consistent pressure on St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford. Not only did they get in his face early on, but the defensive line was able to maintain the onslaught of pressure until the clock wound down to zero. Bradford was never able to get comfortable behind his offensive line, a unit which had provided him with solid protection over the first two weeks of the season. The play of defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is indicative of how the rushmen conducted themselves against the Rams.

Hatcher played with explosive quickness and power. He was disruptive on the move and was relentless in the way he attacked the pocket. His play did not allow Rams quarterback Sam Bradford any room to step up and make a throw. Hatcher was quick to shed blocks, and he was technique-sound the entire day. His play overall caused this Rams’ offensive scheme huge issues.

By the time the game came to a merciful close, Bradford had been hauled to the AT&T Stadium turf six times, an impressive achievement considering that he had yet to be sacked in 2013. Marinelli's rushmen accounted for five of those. On an afternoon that played witness to DeMarcus Ware breaking the franchise record for career sacks, it was only fitting that number 94 led the way by getting to Bradford twice. The other linemen to deliver personal greetings to the Rams passer were Jason Hatcher (who, in addition to recording a sack, also added two other hits on the Rams passer), George Selvie, and Kyle Wilber. For Wilberforce, it was the first sack of his young career. It was, as Bryan Broaddus stated, a dominating day.

Their effort and passion was relentless the entire game. Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli and Leon Lett used various combinations in the game and all their moves came up aces.

While the sack-fest was clearly the highlight of the rushmen's afternoon, they held their own across the board. As a unit, the rushmen accounted for 16 tackles, a dozen of which were solo efforts. Six of those tackles resulted in lost yardage for the visiting squad from St. Louis. Again Demarcus Ware led the way statistically with six tackles, finishing behind only Sean Lee for the day. Behind Ware, Edgar Jones added three solo tackles of his own.

A notoriously tough grader of his players, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli will no doubt once again be critical in his assessment of the men who ply their trade in the trenches of the Dallas-2 defense; that is his way of challenging his players. As for the rest of us, it is time acknowledge that maybe the defensive line is the strong point of the Cowboys defense in 2013. It might also be a fitting time for Marinelli to open up the humidor, and pass out a couple cigars.

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