Grading Dan Quinn midway through the Cowboys 2022 season
By Randy Gurzi
Cowboys pass defense
As frustrating as they have been against the run, their ability to shut down the pass has more than made up for it. The Dallas defense is currently fourth in the NFL in yards surrendered, fifth in passing touchdowns given up, and first in sacks with 33 — seven more than the second-place San Francisco 49ers.
Micah Parsons leads the way with eight sacks but what’s really been impressive is the play of Dorance Armstrong who has five through eight games. He was tasked with replacing Randy Gregory and has done so, and then some.
Quinn has also gotten the most out of Dante Fowler — four sacks in a rotational role — and even brings the heat on the blitz with three sacks from safety Donovan Wilson.
They’ve also broken up 28 passes and recorded seven picks on the year. That’s lower than the 26 they had last year but we might have been a bit spoiled in that regard since that was an insane number thanks in large part to Trevon Diggs hauling in 11 on his own.
Cowboys third-down defense
Before the game against Chicago, Mike McCarthy preached the importance of third-down conversions. Oftentimes, games are won based on who performs best in this area. Dallas improved drastically on offense in that game while the defense held the Bears’ defense to a 40 percent conversion rate.
On the year, that’s below their average as they’ve given up the first down just 35.71 percent of the time which places them in the top 10. They’re trending in the wrong direction over the past few games, but only slightly. Still, being top 10 is admirable and will keep them winning, especially if the offense continues to convert on their own third-down attempts.