Reel Talk: Cowboys Dominant in the Trenches with Inspired D-Line Performance ✭
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Reel Talk: Cowboys Dominant in the Trenches with Inspired D-Line Performance

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Game Notes

Reel Talk: Cowboys Dominant in the Trenches with Inspired D-Line Performance

Looking back at the Cowboys impressive win over the Bengals, the most memorable play is likely Ezekiel Elliott‘s untouched 60-yard touchdown run, the best single display of Dallas’ domination in the offensive trenches during the full 60 minutes of this game.

Not to go unnoticed was the Cowboys defensive front in this game, totaling four sacks on Andy Dalton in DeMarcus Lawrence‘s return. Rod Marinelli’s defensive line ensured that Dallas won this game at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to get to 4-1.

I’ve gathered some clips to showcase how these rushmen put together their best collective performance of the season. Let’s break them down with some Reel Talk!

DeMarcus Lawrence Creates a Real DE Rotation

While Lawrence made his presence felt with limited snaps in this game, the Cowboys’ defensive linemen also took advantage of their one-on-one opportunities whenever possible. D-Law deserves some credit here, as he was able to line up as both a RDE and a LDE, and create pressure off of both edges to get other guys home.

In this example, you’ll see Lawrence at his natural LDE position force two blockers his way, which allows Cedric Thornton to manhandle the right guard into the face of Dalton – who was knocked off of his spot repeatedly and flushed from the pocket.

With Lawrence being this team’s most prominent pass rusher, he also allowed the Cowboys to create a legitimate rotation at his position, where the Bengals were forced to deal with different looks from the likes of Tyrone Crawford, Ryan Davis, and Benson Mayowa.

Thanks to the multitude of defensive tackles that have been playing at a high level as well for the Cowboys, Tyrone Crawford was again asked to play primarily on the strong side at defensive end. In the above clip, you see him beat the right tackle with power, while Lawrence created pressure across from him, to collectively flush Dalton out of the pocket.

Defensive Tackle Play

Speaking of the men in the middle of Dallas’ four-front, the depth at defensive tackle has lived up to the hype, even surprising Cowboys Nation a bit with rookie starter Maliek Collins. Collins has bounced back from his training camp foot injury to prove himself as the player that Rod Marinelli proclaimed as a perfect fit for this defense on draft night.

Along with Collins, we have seen Terrell McClain dominate next to him, finally healthy for the first time in a long time. Free agent acquisition Cedric Thornton has also shown flashes in this rotation, as the Cowboys pushed the pocket all game long against a tough Bengals team.

The above play looks eerily similar to one that DeMarcus Lawrence made easily throughout 2015, and a play that I think he will make in the coming weeks once again. As Lawrence misses the tackle, watch Collins fill his gap and force the running back to cut this play back into the Dallas linebackers for a short gain.

Of course, we cannot mention the Cowboys’ defensive tackles in this game without showing Cedric Thornton’s emphatic first sack with the silver and blue, absolutely demolishing his blocker on his way to Andy Dalton – running through the quarterback to drive him all the way back to Ohio.

Could we see more of Ryan Davis?

Ryan Davis is truly an interesting player for the Cowboys to utilize defensively right now. Brought in from Jacksonville, Davis had shown flashes throughout his proven career as both a penetrating DT and as a rush end.

Click here to read my full scouting report/film review on Ryan Davis

With Davis finding it difficult to break into the rotation at defensive tackle, likely his most disruptive position, Rod Marinelli has thrown Davis out there as a left defensive end – a nice change of pace from Tyrone Crawford.

Davis finds a way to be disruptive on this snap, which was a theme throughout the game as this hungry Cowboys defensive unit was out to prove themselves on each and every snap.

On this final Ryan Davis play, you’ll see the entirety of the Dallas front hold up to their assignment, as Maliek Collins allows Davis to create the space necessary to shoot inside of this tackle and get a run towards Dalton.

Final Thoughts

The 2016 Dallas Cowboys season is starting to feel like 2014 in more ways than one. As the offense, this time led by two electrifying rookies, carries the team behind its offensive line and running game, the defense is able to follow with timely stops and sound coverage.

DeMarcus Lawrence certainly boosted this team’s presence on the defensive line in week 5, but this entire group rose to the occasion in a statement win by simply beating the match ups in front of them.

✭ Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Edge pressure! From the Dallas Cowboys! WE DID IT! @rjochoa owns the Bengals! ✭

Terrell McClain (#97) finished off this play with the sack on Dalton, adding to his impressive day.


Next up for the Cowboys is Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, an all too familiar face representing the overall struggles this team has had.

Specifically, Marinelli’s defense has never been able to generate pressure on Rodgers, something that will be essential should this team enter their bye week at 5-1.

Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the Cowboys defensive line in this game, or email me at any time with feedback at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!

To view these film clips on Twitter, and talk football with me at any time, you can click here to follow @ShoreSportsNJ!

Tell us what you think about “Reel Talk: Cowboys Dominant in the Trenches with Inspired D-Line Performance” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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