There has been plenty of talk about how the Cowboys offense is the strength of the team and how they need to take over for Dallas to start winning again. There is a lot of wisdom in that idea considering that side of the ball has been able to pile up stats all season, except for the all important “scoring at the right time of a game” stat. Still, the offense is the more potent side of the team. Our own Michael Sisemore touched on this theory yesterday.
But against the Rams, there is one particular vulnerability that could be the difference between winning and losing. And it will be up to the other side of the ball for the Cowboys to make it happen.
When Jared Goff is pressured, he struggles. More than most quarterbacks.
Bryan Broaddus: “This is a big play offense and what it does is it relies on the offensive line to kind of give them the protection in order to make that happen. They’ve done a lot better job the last three weeks of protecting Jared Goff. And you know, he’s one of those guys as we’ve seen ... everybody has watched enough Rams’ games to understand that when he faces pressure he is not as good of a quarterback. Quarterback rating is not as good, it’s down in the 70s, maybe 74. But when he gets protection, they thrive, like I said, on those big plays.
Broaddus: “Well the pressure is clearly a problem for him. That’s where we talk about the protection, the weapons, the things around him. They’re still a very very big play offense like I talked about, but when he faces pressure he has not adapted very well. Teams get after him. My old friend Mike Lombardi likes to say this, ‘when you get heated up’ — when you heat him up, he is going to have problems.
That points to two players who need to make things happen unless the Cowboys decide to get blitz-happy. DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn will be two of the most important players in the game for Dallas, and we’ll throw in Michael Bennett as a bonus.
These three guys need to “heat up” Jared Goff. Quinn has had a very good year with 9.5 sacks on the year, but has slowed down the last couple of games. DeMarcus Lawrence is having a sub-par year for his standards with only five sacks so far this year. That is way below where he should be. Yes, he plays the run well and he is disruptive, but sacks are so key in killing drives and he has to produce more than five through 13 games. Michael Bennett has only been here for six games and already has four sacks.
The Cowboys could resort to blitzing more but that’s just not their style on defense. What they really need is for Lawrence, Quinn and Bennett to go off on Goff.