The Dallas Cowboys defense is now blitzing opponents more, according to ESPN.
Those that watched the Monday Night Football game against the Washington Redskins saw a major difference in the Dallas Cowboys right away. The defense played with a lot more aggressiveness than has been seen all season long. Needing to spark a pass rush, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli decided to pull the trigger on blitzes early on and kept up the pressure throughout. It was quite the dramatic change in philosophy, but it generated enough pressure to help Dallas topple Kirk Cousins and the Redskins.
While the Dallas Cowboys defense does well in limiting the amount of total yards that opponents are gaining, they simply were not able to get to the quarterback frequently enough. Despite having a roster featuring Greg Hardy, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory, the Cowboys were ranked in the bottom third of the NFL when it comes to collecting sacks. Rod Marinelli knew that his squad would need to take it up a notch if Dallas wants to make the playoffs without starting quarterback Tony Romo, who is sidelined for the second time this season because of a collarbone injury.
Rod Marinelli hates blitzing with a passion. He was the defensive line coach when Monte Kiffin was the defensive coordinator and Tony Dungy was the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The trio perfected a version of the Cover 2 known as the Tampa 2. In this particular defensive scheme, only four defensive linemen were used to rush the quarterback as they pass coverage that generally required seven players to cause the most disruption. Marinelli adopted the scheme as his own and only deviated slightly from it when he went on his own.
Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice became legends for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because they were able to harass NFL quarterbacks without needing linebackers or defensive backs blitzing. It was a luxury that Rod Marinelli enjoyed and was hoping to enjoy with the Dallas Cowboys. A player like Greg Hardy was supposed to have been able to lead the pass rushing charge but he has failed to live up to potential. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are not experienced enough yet to become dominant pass rushers for the Cowboys. Dallas could not emulate what the old Tampa Bay defensive line used to do.
When it comes to defensive coordinators, Rod Marinelli is one of the smarter ones in the NFL. He has been in the league for almost two decades now, so he has seen plenty of things. Marinelli knows that opposing offensive coordinators were aware of what the Dallas Cowboys defense did against the Washington Redskins. Rod knows that he might not be able to get away with some of the things that the team did last Monday because the element of surprise will not be there.
The next game on the schedule for the Dallas Cowboys is against the Green Bay Packers, a formerly dominant team that has been in a slump. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL, so Rod Marinelli might be hesitant to throw too many blitzes at him. Rodgers is great at spotting blitzes and making adjustments. The Cowboys certainly do not want to get behind quickly by giving up big plays to Aaron by leaving wide receivers uncovered. It should be an excellent chess game as Dallas is still desperately clinging on to their postseason chances.
Do you think that the Dallas Cowboys will continue to blitz opponents as aggressively as they did against the Washington Redskins?
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