Last season, the biggest knock on the Dallas Cowboys–who won 13 games–was the team lacked an effective pass rush. While there might have been some truth in the observation, there is still more to the story. If you want to know the Cowboys’ chances of winning the Super Bowl this year, check out Dallas Cowboys betting odds for the 2017 season.
Last season, the Cowboys didn’t get to the quarterback quickly enough, getting 20 sacks in 12 games and rightfully earning the label of not having a good pass rush. But in their final five games of the season, which includes their playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Cowboys had 16 sacks.
The Cowboys averaged 3.2 sacks per game in their final five games, which was more than any other team during that stretch.
Despite the slow start to the season, the Cowboys finished with 36 sacks last year, which was more than the 31 sacks they had the previous season. In fact, the Cowboys went from 25th in sacks in 2015 to 13th in 2016.
To put things in proper perspective, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks are the only playoff teams that finished with more sacks than the Cowboys.
The New York Giants, who spent a substantial amount of money revamping their defense, finished with less sacks than the Cowboys, as did the two Super Bowl teams.
One of the reasons people thought the Cowboys didn’t have a pass rush last season was the inconsistency the team showed throughout the season. The defense averaged 1.6 sacks per game in the first 12 games before going on a tear to end the season.
Another reason people didn’t think they had a good pass rush is the fact that they don’t have any big name players on the defensive line. A good example of what I’m talking about is the Houston Texans.
Last season, whenever the Texans were on television, all fans heard about is how good their defense was, but the reality of it was they finished 24th in sacks last year. The obvious reason they didn’t have as many sacks as the Cowboys is the fact that three-time Defensive Player of the Year, JJ Watt, missed most of the season.
Even without Watt in the lineup, people still gave Houston’s pass rush credit because of Watt.
After going the free agency route to try and establish a premier pass rush, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys decided it wasn’t the best way to approach building their defensive line and are now focused on building it through the draft, as they did with their offensive line.
With so many young players on the line, they haven’t had the time to make names for themselves, but that will soon change as long as they can continue playing at the high level they did to end the season.
Last season, Maliek Collins recorded five sacks as a rookie. David Irving and Tyrone Crawford added four each. This year, the Cowboys drafted Taco Charlton, giving them another pass rusher that is expected to contribute right away.
With last year’s players expected to improve and players like Charlton coming on board, we will likely be talking about how the Cowboys have the best pass rush in the league this time next year.