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Friday, December 2, 2011
Can Cowboys exploit Cardinals' poor pass protection?

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas – If the trend holds up, don’t expect the Cowboys to rack up a bunch of sacks against the Cardinals.

Considering the Cardinals have given up 36 sacks this season, that doesn’t sound like it makes much sense. But just look at the only two teams that have allowed more quarterback abuse than Arizona.

The Rams and Seahawks have each allowed 39 sacks. Yet the Cowboys managed only one sack against St. Louis and one against Seattle, although defensive coordinator Rob Ryan offered a simple explanation for those numbers.

“Their protections change,” Ryan said. “A lot of people will go max protect. They’ll change looks. DeMarcus Ware, it’s not just Ware anymore. It’s everybody. It’s Jay Ratliff; it’s (Anthony) Spencer; and (Jason) Hatcher. They’ve got to block these guys. So they keep a lot more people in against us.

“Then, if we get the same game plan that Minnesota got, then we’ll kill their quarterback. Just doesn’t work that way. Our guys, as good as they are, they demand a lot of attention.”

If the Cardinals leave left tackle Levi Brown alone on NFL sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, quarterback Kevin Kolb better look out. Brown has allowed 10.5 sacks this season, the second most in the league, according to Stats Inc.