Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Under Pressure

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Commandment 4: Because the safeties play very high, each covering half the field, they must have great speed and must cover significant amounts of real estate.  Safeties have to read the play from distance and break on the ball at the right time.  While I have concerns about our inexperienced depth behind veteran Safeties Barry Church and Will Allen, the nice thing about the Tampa Two is that it allows the Safeties time to read and react.  In my humble opinion, the Cowboys do not need All Pro safety play in order to have a solid defense this year.

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Commandment 5:  This brings us to the fifth and last “Commandment of Tampa Two.”  The defensive line must get frequent and sustained pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback.  The Tampa Two defense is fundamentally a zone defense, which as with all zone defenses carries holes between the covered zones.  If the opposing QB has time in the pocket to pass, he will slice a defense up.  This, in my mind, is the biggest potential fail point for this year’s Dallas Cowboy defense.

We all know that last year Defensive End DeMarcus Ware had an “off year” by his standards with only 11.5 sacks, but of course he was playing with only one arm for a good part of the season due to shoulder and elbow injuries.  Defensive End Anthony Spencer had a career year with 11 sacks, but can he keep up those numbers of quarterback pressures.  Defensive Lineman Jay Ratliff continued his frequent injury trends missing much of the season, and finally Defensive End Jason Hatcher had some tremendous games, but only produced 4 sacks.

With this defensive line personnel group, where does that constant and sustained QB pressure come from?  Ware will get his, maybe Spencer has another career year, but can we count on Hatcher and the oft injured Ratliff to keep the QB on the run?  Is our depth on the DL enough to make up those desperately needed sacks?

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In these first two preseason games Defensive End George Selvie made his presence felt in the first game against the second string, but he did not have that same impact against Oakland’s number one offensive line.  Yes, new Defensive Line Coach Rod Marinelli is regarded as a defensive mastermind, but can he produce more sacks from the sidelines?  I just don’t have the confidence yet in this Defensive line.

If at the end of the day the Cowboys DL personnel can’t get consistent pressure, the entire Tampa Two defensive scheme breaks down and we could all be in for a very long season.  I really don’t want to yell at the Cowboys defense on the TV screen all year.  To quote actor Vince Vaughn in the movie Old School, “Ear muffs!” kids.  Here’s to hoping that Dallas defensive line crushes opposing Quarterbacks this season!

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys defensive line can generate enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks?  Let me hear from you Cowboys Nation.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattsCowboys

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