The Cowboys defensive line has been so disruptive to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Defense getting pressure from entire line – Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys aren’t always racking up the sacks but they certainly have been finding ways to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
The defense, of course, is peppered with talented players and All-Pro level production at each level, including defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch and cornerback Byron Jones.
But to really make defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme so effective, it takes all 11 players swarming to the ball.
“[It’s a] hustle-style defense and knowing that the star of the defense is the defense. We kind of embrace that,” defensive end Tyrone Crawford said. “I feel like we’ve done a good job with that. We definitely run to the ball. All of us are running to the ball. You don’t see any D-linemen loafing. You don’t see corners loafing. No linebackers loafing. No safeties loafing. Everybody’s at the ball. You probably see us all on the screen at the end of the play. Things like that make this defense the way it is.”
Cowboys’ Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence have family bond – Todd Archer, ESPN
From the moment they met at a recruiting trip to Boise State, DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford have had a very special friendship.
“I think we pull each other in different ways, which is good, because as a person you don’t want to be stuck. You want to be pulled out of it sometimes,” Crawford said. “I think we both do that at the right times, especially when it’s time to work and one of us doesn’t want to, the other does. So we always get to grinding. We hold each other accountable. We definitely need that. That goes with our family life as well.”
Lawrence and his fiancé, Sasha, have a son, Demari. The Crawfords welcomed their first child, Mia, in June.
“That’s my little Mama Mia, yeah, just like my son is his nephew,” Lawrence said. “Something happens to me, it’s his responsibility, just like it’s mine if something happens to him. I mean, that’s what brothers do for each other.”
The Story Of Antwaun: How defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is a true difference maker – Lindsay Cash Draper, DallasCowboys.com
This interesting piece about Antwaun Woods provides some extra insight on Rod Marinelli.
It’s not just Woods benefiting from the ways of Coach Marinelli, it’s the entire unit of defense. Marinelli is their difference maker.
“That’s one thing about Marinelli, he knows his players,” Woods said. “He knows how to work, how to push certain players, how certain players react to certain situations.”
Marinelli deserves credit for a skill only the greatest coaches have: knowing his players. For Woods, it was all the difference. And it was from the moment they met.
“I look at each individual player, and I coach them to what they can become,” Marinelli said. “Of course, we have our standards and expectations, and no excuses. I don’t coach to the floor,” Marinelli said, pointing upward. “I coach them to the ceiling, then we knock that ceiling off.”
Rod Marinelli’s response when asked about Taco Charlton speaks volumes about the Cowboys defensive end’s status – Brandon George, SportsDay
Taco Charlton was a healthy scratch against the Eagles, which raised a few eyebrows. Cowboys coaches want him to earn the opportunity and are focused on guys that are earning it on the field.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was asked Thursday if it’s time to have a heart-to-heart talk with Charlton.
”We just keep moving along,” Marinelli responded.
But has it been hard for him?
”It’s not something I- it’s kind of been out there, I’ll just leave it at that,” Marinelli said. “I’d rather talk about the guys, our two tackles this last week. Man, they did some things that were impressive.”
During five-game win-streak, no offense has gained more total yards than the Dallas Cowboys – Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
With a five-game win-streak, it’s no surprise that the Cowboys offense has been racking up the yards.
The Cowboys have gained more total yards in the last five games than any other team in the NFL. They also are first in time of possession and first downs since their win streak began in Philadelphia. From way down in the depths of despair to first in those three categories? That’s huge for the Cowboys but so is their rise from 28th to second in third-down percentage, from 33% to 50% is a hefty jump. Remember when the Cowboys were among the offenses not seeing a surge in points, averaging less than 20 per game? Despite still having a lot of work to do in red zone offense, they, at least, rose from 26th to 10th in points per game.
Amari Cooper wants to be NFL’s best receiver – Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys can give a lot of credit to their turnaround to the trade for Amari Cooper. After things weren’t so great in Oakland, he’s flourishing in Dallas.
A lot of those people are now offering up apologies to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and praising Cooper after the spectacular show the former Alabama star has put on in Dallas, reminding everyone why the Raiders made him the fourth overall pick in 2015.
Cooper has posted the most receiving yards (642) and first downs (23), is tied for the most receiving touchdowns (six) and is tied for the seventh-most receptions (40) among all NFL receivers since coming over in the trade. He also leads the league with 11 first downs and 13 receptions on third downs during that time.
A Weird NFL Weekend Leaves Us Even More Confused – Staff, FiveThirtyEight
Interesting discussion from the staff at fivethirtyeight on the NFC East.
Salfino (Michael Salfino, contributor): Sara mentioned the Eagles. Is their window closing? They’re going to have to rebuild their defense, which is bereft of impact players. Their skill players are mediocre. Alshon Jeffery is not a No. 1 receiver, remotely. Suddenly their team-building seems suspect.
sara.ziegler (Sarah Ziegler, assistant sports editor): They had seemed to be playing better since that walloping by the Saints. But maybe not so much.
neil (Neil Paine, senior sports writer): Will we look back at 2017 as a weird, one-off year in general? Eagles take advantage of a strange hiccup in the general arc of the game?
Salfino: Especially winning with Foles.
gfoster (Geoff Foster, sports editor): One more NFC East thought: The Amari Cooper trade was probably the most derided front office move of the year. I myself openly laughed at it. Now…
Salfino: The Cooper trade is going to go down in history as the best in-season deal. He was the missing piece. Everyone else is now in the role that they are suited to be in. Dak Prescott was explosive Sunday. I can’t believe I’m saying it.
The bug for the Cowboys was supposed to be their decision-making by Jerry Jones and his family, and that’s turned out to be their strength. Seriously, name the team that’s drafted better recently than the Cowboys. Now add Cooper to this. God, I hate myself for saying this.
gfoster: The issue with that trade was more relative to the wide receiver market. Golden Tate, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas were all traded for a far smaller return. The difference is that prior to the deal, I would have lumped Cooper in with that tier of receiver, but it’s possible that his problem was even more Derek Carr than I thought.
Salfino: My view is that Cooper is an explosive player who can take the top off the defense. Those other guys, including Gordon now, cannot.
sara.ziegler: My favorite thing in football this season is how bad the Giants are at tanking.
Amari Cooper said Raiders owner Mark Davis, not Jon Gruden made trade decision on him – Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Mark Davis pushing hard for NFL Executive of the year, as he made two division winners with two trades
Cooper said [neither] Gruden nor then general manager Reggie McKenzie made the decision to trade him. It was Davis and Davis alone. He said Gruden didn’t even know about the trade and it was one that McKenzie didn’t want to make.
But once Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered a 2019 first-round pick, Davis overruled every one, per Cooper “They were getting calls about a first for next year and they weren’t going to do it,” Cooper said. “But when Jerry Jones called about a first for this year he felt he had no choice.”
Writer’s Blocks: It’s Time To Believe In Dak – David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott thrives in the toughest situations, it’s being suggested that it’s time for Cowboys fans to believe in the man.
I’ve been trying to formulate some kind of comprehensive take on Dak ever since Sunday’s game ended, and I’m just not sure I can do it justice – except to say that I think I’m convinced.
I’m not convinced he’s going to blossom into the league’s best quarterback or win the Cowboys a Super Bowl. No one can predict those things, and anyone trying to is out for click bait.
But having seen that performance against the Eagles, which was so bad and then so good, I think I’m simply a believer in Dak Prescott.
5 things Cowboys fans need to know about the Colts – Tyler Dragon, SportsDay
Sunday will be the 16th time these two teams have faced each other. The Cowboys lead the Colts in this series 10-5 but here are some other things to know about Indy.
The Cowboys now possess the longest win streak in the NFL thanks to the Colts. Indianapolis snapped the Houston Texans’ nine-game win streak last week. The Colts are currently at the undesirable No. 7 spot in the AFC playoff race. However, the team is making a serious push, winning six of its last seven games.
Surpassing Houston for the AFC South crown is unrealistic (two games back with three to play), but a wild card berth is well within the purview.
Flip Side: The Colts’ Unsung Weapon At DE – Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
The Colts defensive line is full of guys that get it done, this might be a tough week for La’el Collins up against Colts DE Jabaal Sheard.
Sheard has some DeMarcus Lawrence to him in the way he plays on the move. He is one of those pass rushers that rarely stops, even with an initial punch from the blocker. Like Lawrence, Eberflus uses Sheard in the twist game. He has a feel for how to beat blockers with sneaky moves, then finish with power.
Where Collins needs to be careful is not to allow Sheard to work to his shoulder because he is capable of pushing right past him. Collins is going to need to take him square and work to hold him in place. Where Collins does get in trouble is when he is exposed on the edge and he leans to try and stop the rusher’s charge. This is when we’ve seen those holding calls develop.
Collins will also need to prepare for Sheard lining up exceptionally wide and just attempting to run past him. This is a technique that he will use several snaps a game.
— One Cool Customer (@OCC44) December 13, 2018