DeMarcus Ware and the pass rush

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
7:30
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys compiled 13 sacks through the first three weeks of the season but just two in the next two games which has raised concerns about the pass rush.

In those last two games, quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning get rid of the ball quickly which frustrates defensive linemen who are a second or two from getting to the quarterback.

The box score of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos did not credit any Cowboys' player with a quarterback hurry. However, Manning was knocked down several times and DeMarcus Ware forced a hurry during an interception.

"It's frustrating when we're not being able to make plays at the right time especially on third down," Ware told ESPNDallas on Monday. "I think they were 9-13 on third down plays. You got to be more effective at that time."

What is also troubling is the secondary play. The defensive backs and linebackers at times, are struggling to combat quick throws underneath and down the field.

Calling blitzes also helps the defense but even that is off. The Cowboys like to send cornerback Orlando Scandrick on a blitz off the edge, but he was needed to cover slot receiver Wes Welker more in coverage on Sunday. So the Cowboys rushed four and sometimes five at Manning. He still maintained his pocket presence. He completed 33 of 42 passes for 414 yards and four touchdowns.

"We just haven't been fundamentally sound," linebacker Sean Lee said. "It's on us as players to make more plays and we haven't made enough plays and we haven't been able to get off the field. We haven't executed enough and it's squarely on us as players to find a way to get better."

Added Ware: "It's always a team effort that's how it is. We're talking from a defensive standpoint. If the offense scores 48 points, we got to be able to win the game."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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