The bottom line, said coach Jason Garrett, is pressuring opposing passers. And he is satisfied that the Cowboys (5-5) are doing that well enough to impact those quarterbacks’ performances. Dallas ranks sixth among NFL teams in pass defense, fourth in the NFC.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan the Cowboys are “playing the game smart,” based on injury-related attrition to key players and improved cornerback play from newcomers Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. With better coverage options, the Cowboys don’t need to take as many chances with blitzes to get opposing quarterbacks out of rhythm.
“Some teams I see, they get eight sacks in about a quarter and they get their (butts) kicked. We don’t worry about these totals,” Ryan said. “Sacks, they’re part of the game. We want to get to the quarterback, obviously. We’ve hit the damn quarterback a lot. I’m sure we’ve hit him just as many times as some of the teams that are leading the league in that category (sacks).”
Ryan said the risk-reward factor involved with increasing the team’s blitz percentage _ which probably would lead to more sacks _ may not be worth it on the scoreboard.
“The way the ball is coming out nowadays, there’s a reason some teams are giving up 500 yards a game. They’re going after that quarterback. And they’re getting 500 yards put up on (them),” Ryan said. “We don’t like to play that way. We like to try to win the best we can.”
_ Jimmy Burch