Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Is Key To Lifting Lombardi #6
At this time last year, only the Dallas Cowboys faithful were discussing a Super Bowl run. Most pundits were mentioning that without linebacker Sean Lee and defensive end DeMarcus Ware, our defense would be record breaking.
Unfortunately, they weren’t predicting good records being broken. Experts felt our defense would be the worst in NFL history. What a difference a year makes.
Every year I predict the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl and go 19 – 0, but I’m willing to make other predictions too.
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Offensive guard La’el Collins wasn’t boasting about the offensive line being the best in NFL history. Quarterback Tony Romo (yes, that’s my quarterback) has never been known for scrambling downfield like Russell Wilson or Robert Griffin III. Romo isn’t a statue in the pocket like Peyton Manning, he’s elusive with an outstanding pocket presence. #ThatSpinMoveTho
The combination of Romo, the offensive line and an efficient running game will help the Cowboys set a record for the fewest sacks and quarterback hits in NFL history. Last year, the Cowboys allowed 30 sacks and 53 quarterback (QB) hits on 476 passing attempts in the regular season. The low mark goes to the Denver Broncos’ offensive line which allowed 17 sacks and 42 QB hits on 607 passing attempts in 2014.
In 2009, the Indianapolis Colts offensive line allowed 13 sacks and 44 QB hits on 601 passing attempts. With a shift toward rushing the football, the Cowboys offensive line will allow less than 10 sacks and 25 quarterback hits for the next three years. Romo’s jersey will be so clean after games, the equipment manager will spray it with Febreeze and hang it back in Romo’s locker for the next week.
Defensively, there are two statistics that garner the most attention: Sacks and Interceptions. The Buffalo Bills led the NFL with 54 sacks and the San Francisco 49’ers led with 23 interceptions.
2014 Defensive Team Leaders
|San Francisco 49’ers|
I will take it a step further and predict the Cowboys lead the NFL in both defensive categories. Sounds outrageous but a balanced, yet explosive offense will score early and often. Playing from behind will cause opponents to abandon the running game and become one dimensional. That situation gives the advantage to our defense as they focus on attacking the quarterback.
Defensive end Jeremy Mincey led the Cowboys with six sacks in 2014. Defensive tackle Henry Melton finished with five sacks. My prediction: Every defensive lineman, with the exception of Nick Hayden, will finish with a minimum of six sacks. The production comes from the accumulation of talent that creates one on one matches with offensive linemen.
Greg Hardy is a proven NFL pass rusher and our young guns: DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory excelled at reaching the quarterback in college. Jack Crawford, Tyrone Crawford and Ben Gardner had seasons in college where they each exceeded six sacks or more.
We have players that can get to the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s system that focuses on a heavy rotation of fresh players should afford them opportunities to hit quarterbacks.
Opposing quarterbacks that get hit begin making poor decisions. There will be sacks followed by hurried throws and interceptions. The interceptions give the ball back to the offense.
The offense scores and / or drains the clock to force the opponent into more passing situations. The need to throw the ball creates more sacks and interception opportunities for our defense. What a vicious cycle for our opponents.
The Cowboys will set plenty of records this year on the way to lifting the sixth Lombardi. It will all revolve around the success of our defensive pass rush. This will be a fun season to watch, so Cowboy Nation – Get your popcorn ready.
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