Even when the Dallas Cowboys posted a 13-3 record and won the NFC East last season a key thing was missing — a pass rush.
It was obvious in a playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. In that season-ending tilt Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had ample time on a key drive late in the game, and it ultimately ended the Cowboys' season.
The Cowboys have their problems this season, the secondary needs some help, but DeMarcus Lawrence appears to have fixed the pass rushing problem.
Lawrence already has 6.5 sacks heading into Week 4 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. That’s tops in the NFL and it’s a pace — albeit a likely unsustainable pace — that could have Lawrence set franchise record for sacks and flirt with Michael Strahan’s NFL record 22.5 sacks set in 2001.
Lawrence’s play has been a bit of a surprise. He had just nine sacks in his prior three seasons, and the Cowboys actually expected Taco Charlton, their 2017 first-round pick, to be the savior on the defensive line.
But Lawrence has redefined his career through three games. He’s getting to the quarterback with an impressive arsenal — it’s a combination of both speed rushing and smart, deft moves that have led to sacks — he’s been far from one dimensional.
Other teams could start keying on Lawrence soon with double teams and chipping running backs against him, but that might not be the worst thing for the Cowboys defensive line, especially with David Irving returning from a suspension in Week 5.
When Irving returns either Lawrence or Irving will likely face single coverage throughout the game. Irving is actually at his best when somewhat ignored, we saw that last season with his success off the bench.
Overall it becomes a question of consistency for Lawrence. Even if he doesn’t have the same sack numbers, can he keep up the consistent pressure?
So far the signs are pointing in the right direction.