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Cowboys Defense Getting Players Back at the Right Time

The Dallas have played really well on this season allowing the seventh fewest rushing yards per game, the third lowest yards per carry, and the eighth fewest passing yards per game this season. They’ve done it for most of the without Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and David Irving, and Sean Lee, who’s missed the last three games with a strained hamstring.

This week the Cowboys play the leading Washington Redskins, making this a very important matchup for the Cowboys playoff chances. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-2 in the in 2018, so a win against the Washington Redskins on Sunday carries much more importance. If the Cowboys have hopes of making the , they’re going to have to improve their record against the NFC and they can on Sunday with their defense getting back to (nearly) full health.

Still awaiting word on ’s availability for this week.

, , and David Ross have held up really well on the Cowboys defensive interior without Irving and Collins, which makes their return even more important. Better depth along the defensive interior is only going to help those guys have more productive snaps. Both Collins and Irving are explosive penetrating defensive tackles that give interior offensive lineman fits with their combination of strength and quickness. They play the run and pass with equal effectiveness and make life a lot easier for the linebackers and the defensive ends.

In their first game back in week six, Irving and Collins combined for two pressures, a quarterback hit (Irving) and a sack (Collins). Irving also drew a holding call on a punt.

Getting them back takes so much pressure off the defensive ends to generate pressure in passing situations. With better pressure from the interior of the defense, and the other defensive ends will have better opportunities for because opposing quarterbacks won’t be able to step up in the pocket with as much ease as they have through the first five games of the season.

The linebacker duo of , and have been one of the best position groups for the Cowboys this season. As good as they’ve been, Sean Lee is still one of the better linebackers in the NFL. Though he’s leading the Cowboys in solo tackles with 43, Leighton Vander Esch probably sees a decrease in his snaps with Lee returning. They’ll all play, however, and the Cowboys will look for ways to have them all on the field together.

Getting Lee, Irving, and Collins on the field at the same time with the defensive parts that the Cowboys already boast in Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and is going to make playing nearly impossible.

How do you attack these guys?

The Washington Redskins rank in the bottom third in passing yards, yards per attempt, and are 18th in the NFL in passer rating. Washington ranks in the top half of the league in rushing yards per game, but rank 23rd in yards per attempt.

If there’s an area where the has been susceptible this season it’s against the pass and having all of their best defensive players available for this week seven NFC East matchup is going to make all the difference. They’ll be able to generate pressure with fewer blitzes because of the ability of Irving and Collins to generate pressure from the interior.

Though the Redskins have had some success on the ground in 2018, it’s going to be tough sledding for and the Redskins run game. Lee, Vander Esch, and Smith all play the run extremely well and with the improved talent at , Peterson is going to find very few open lanes against the Dallas Cowboys defense.

The elite defense that we imagined this team could be may be right around the corner. Having everyone healthy and on the field together as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for the stretch run of the NFL season is huge.

Get ready NFL. Points are going to be really hard to come by.

What do you think?

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Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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