Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gets criticism for not blitzing more and for not pressing his cornerbacks.
But he said he thinks the Cowboys can get plenty of pressure without blitzing, and that they want to avoid penalties.
“We’ve got a pretty darn good pass rush without blitzing. I think it was on display, even on Thanksgiving,” he said Friday during his weekly meeting with reporters. “We didn’t play well, but our pass rush was dynamite, I thought. The thing is, we’re playing much better defense this year, whether that’s a lack of blitzing or whatever it is. We are playing much better this year, and I think we’re in every game and we want to win every game and the best way to do that is play smart. Will we pressure? Absolutely, we’ll pressure. But we’re picking our spots and believe in our players here. We don’t have to hit a bunch of designer blitzes like some other places I have been at.”
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware ranks fourth in the NFL with 10 sacks, and fellow OLB Anthony Spencer has 6.5. But the Cowboys don’t have a sack from an inside linebacker, a cornerback or a safety. The other sacks have come from defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Tyrone Crawford, nose tackle Josh Brent, outside linebacker Victor Butler.
Of his cornerbacks, Ryan said they press more than people think.
“We do press a lot. There are some situations where you don’t,” he said. “I think when you get in longer situations, you’re playing with fire the way the rules are nowadays and getting a penalty. We don’t like to be a heavily penalized team. In fact, we pride ourselves in not being one.
“You have to be smart. We do a lot of everything. We can play up, back, off. We believe in being simple but multiple. That’s what we are. You can get down there and press all day and blitz everybody like some teams in the league do. We think it’s our best to mix in pressure, mix in coverages, and we think we have more success that way, and we have.”
-- Carlos Mendez