This Dallas Cowboys defense is good.
We wanted to believe it heading into the season and now after two impressive showings, this is becoming more and more a reality. After holding rookie running back sensation Saquon Barkley to only 28 yards rushing and All-World receiving spectacle Odell Beckham Jr. to just four catches for 51 yards, the Cowboys defense has taken a stand. Oh yeah, they also sacked Eli Manning six times.
There are a lot of reasons to feel good about this defense. For example...
Sean Lee is nursing a hamstring injury right now and I don't even care.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 17, 2018
Earl Thomas isn't wearing the star right now and I don't even care.
David Irving & Randy Gregory aren't playing right now and I don't even care.
So tell me again how good you feel about this defense...
Despite a very unimpressive showing by the team’s star linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys LB group has been tenacious getting after the ball carrier. Lee missed some reps against the Giants, yet the defense never missed a beat. The combination of Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and even Damien Wilson have been very reliable so far.
Despite the front office not trading for the talented All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, the Cowboys safeties have not budged. Not only are they not a liability like some of us worried about, but they are playing well. The Cowboys defense is top five in passing yards allowed so far this season with an average of just 183 yards against them. And they are top three in efficiency, only allowing an average of 5.3 yards per attempt, a trend that continues to get better ever since they remodeled their secondary last year.
The Cowboys defense is also ranked third in points allowed as they are only giving up an average of 14.5 points per game. How is all of this happening?
While it’s a collective group doing the damage, it all starts up front and right now the Cowboys defensive line rotation is getting it done. I know it’s early, but the Cowboys are currently second in the league in sacks with nine. Last year, Dallas was ranked in the middle of the pack with 38 sacks. With nine already in the books this year, there’s a good chance they improve on their sack total from last season.
And it’s not just one player getting the job done. Of the nine sacks, eight different players have sacks.
Defensive tackles Maliek Collins, Tyrone Crawford, and newcomer Antwaun Woods each have one. The Cowboys have a great interior line rotation going and that doesn’t even include the fact that David Irving (suspension) and Datone Jones (knee) will be returning soon.
Second-year defensive end Taco Charlton has looked sharp so far this season and is showing a jump in ability that Cowboys fans were hoping for.
And of course, there’s last year’s breakout sack-maker DeMarcus Lawrence who is the only Cowboys player with multiple sacks this year. He’s picking up where he left off last season and it’s becoming more and more clear that the Cowboys front office will be handing him a big check next offseason.
While the defensive line has been playing great, they’re not the only ones getting in on the sackfest as Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, and Kavon Frazier each have a sack as well. Rod Marinelli has been dialing up more blitzes and the team is making them count. With strong play from their defensive backs, maybe Marinelli trusts his guys more to handle the back end while he sends extra pressure? And the good news is, it looks like more is on the way!
Stephen Jones says Kris Richard had an influence on Rod Marinelli calling more blitzes Sunday. Says to expect more blitzes and schemes to come for the Dallas D.— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) September 17, 2018
We have to be happy about what we’ve seen from this Cowboys defense so far. The battle in the AFC may go through Sacksonville this season, but if these Hot Boyz keep playing like they have been, post-season play certainly will be in Cowboys future.