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How does Dallas’ defense stack up against the rest of the league?

How does Dallas’ defense stack up against the rest of the league?

Whether it was rose-colored glasses or a lack of insight on the part of media members and fans, the Dallas Cowboys defensive line has not lived up to the preseason hype that surrounded this unit.

Were they as hyped as the Cowboys offense? No. But there was much intrigue around adding Aldon Smith, Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy (now released becaused of injury) and a healthy Tyrone Crawford beside DeMarcus Lawrence.

Added to the fact a scheme change was going to possibly increase aggresiveness on that side of the ball. Dallas is tied for third worst in sack numbers with two through the first two games – Washington is the league leader with 11.

Between Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and DeMarcus Lawrence exist eight Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections. Yet, the production has failed to meet expectations.

Everson Griffen – 4x Pro Bowler, 2nd Team All-Pro

DeMarcus Lawrence – 2x Pro Bowler, 2nd Team All-Pro

Dontari Poe – 2x Pro Bowler, 2nd Team All-Pro

Dallas is absent from the top 10 in terms of edge rusher pass rush win rate, defensive tackle pass rush win rate, edge run stop win rate and defensive tackle run stop win rate, according to ESPN advanced analytics.

ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric “ tells us how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds. Likewise, our pass block win rate metric conveys the rate linemen can sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer.”

“In run stop win rate, a defender can earn a win by doing any of the following: beating his blocker so he’s in better position to stop the runner; disrupting the pocket or running lane by pushing his blocker backwards; containing the runner such that he must adjust his running lane; or recording a tackle within three yards of the line of scrimmage. If a defender earns a run stop win, his blocker earns a loss, and vice versa.”

In terms of team pass rush win rate the Cowboys ranked 26th at 36%.

NFL League Leaders:

1. Buffalo Bills, 66%
2. Pittsburgh Steelers, 65%
3. Kansas City Chiefs, 56%
4. Philadelphia Eagles, 53%
5. Los Angeles Chargers, 52%
6. New Orleans Saints, 52%
7. Atlanta Falcons, 52%
8. Baltimore Ravens, 48%
9. Cleveland Browns, 47%
10. Houston Texans, 46%

They’re ranked 30th at 27% in terms of team run stop win rate.

NFL League Leaders:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers, 40%
2. New York Jets, 37%
3. New England Patriots, 37%
4. Atlanta Falcons, 35%
5. San Francisco 49ers, 34%
6. Chicago Bears, 34%
7. Indianapolis Colts, 34%
8. Houston Texans, 33%
9. Los Angeles Chargers, 32%
10. Seattle Seahawks, 32%

Coach Mike McCarthy said Lawrence injured his knee in the first half of the game and the Cowboys limited his play for precautionary reasons.

Lawrence’s status and availability for this week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks is unknown.

McCarthy said it’s something they are “keeping an eye on” and will know more when the Cowboys return to practice on Wednesday.

Lawrence’s injury doesn’t come close to explain what’s wrong with the team’s ailing pass rush.

McCarthy blamed it partly on the Cowboys still adjusting to the new scheme on defense under Mike Nolan, but acknowledged the team has work to do to improve the pass rush.

Nolan agreed, saying they haven’t done a good job getting to the quarterback through the first two games for varying reasons.

“Both games have been different,” Nolan said. “The first game we hardly had any pass really opportunity on first or second down. They were primarily on third, and as we’ve learned a couple weeks ago, 14 of those 17 third downs were 2-5 yards, which is not really a big pass-rush down. You’re usually just — you don’t really have your ears pinned back all the way in those situations. So, the first game was not really a good thing. I think we had more opportunity [against the Falcons], so, that was probably a better example. I think overall we have to do a better job coordinating things and obviously that starts from me in that standpoint in a pass-rush situation and making things work and being more effective.”

Staff Writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Madden Legend | SFA Alum | Fascinated by Success

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