Cowboys: Melton, pass rush, key to defensive success
Coming into this season, many wondered how the Dallas Cowboys could possibly be an effective defense. In 2013, the unit allowed the most yards in the NFL and then DeMarcus Ware moved to the Rocky Mountains and Jason Hatcher left in free agency. 2014 looked like being a nightmare season at Jerry’s World.
The bad news is that the pass coverage has been every bit as bad as the public fearedwith three of four original starters all having ratings at –3.5 or below.
The good news is that a questionable rotation on the line has been playing above expectations. Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford don’t have any sacks, but have 18 hurries between them. In fact, the defense has 69 sacks, hits and hurries; producing a QB disruption on over 40% of opposing drop-backs; as a team, they rank 4th in the total pass rush ratings.
Henry Melton has been the brightest star. Despite coming off a torn ACL that he suffered in September of 2013, the Cowboys signed the former Chicago Bear as a free agent. With just 81 total pass rush snaps under his belt, Melton has a pass rush rating of +7.7 and has produced 11 pressures. Amongst defensive tackles, only Kyle Williams of the Bills has a higher production rate so far this season.
As long as the pass rush continues to produce enough disruption to mask a poor pass defense, the Dallas Cowboys might continue to surprise everyone as much as their defensive line has.