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Cowboys Looking For Ways To Spark Struggling Pass-Rush

Posted Dec 12, 2013

IRVING, Texas– After the first four games of this season, the Cowboys had already garnered 14 sacks.

After the next four, or the second quarter of the season, the Cowboys had just seven more.

The third quarter of the season – games played in November – the Cowboys’ defense mustered only five quarterback sacks.

And one game into this December run, the Cowboys have just one sack.

That’s not exactly the kind of trend this team is looking for as it now must win at least two games, perhaps all three of the final three to make the playoffs.

So where’s the rush?

“We’ve got to get back to that,” said DeMarcus Ware, who has been banged up for parts of this season and has just six sacks this year. “It’s on us. We’ve got to get more pressure on the quarterback. This is the time of year when the lights come on. So we have to be better.”

And maybe, Green Bay will be the opponent that allows that.  At least statistically, that could happen if backup Matt Flynn plays for Aaron Rodgers, who has tried to come back from a broken collarbone.

The Packers have allowed 37 sacks this year, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Of those 37 sacks allowed, 12 have come in the last two weeks with Flynn under center.

But while the Packers have endured their share of injuries, the Cowboys aren’t feeling sorry for them, especially when it comes to their defensive line. Since the first day of training camp when expected contributor Tyrone Crawford suffered a torn Achilles, it’s been one injury after another. The Cowboys have played nearly 20 different defensive linemen since the start of the season, although the starters haven’t changed much.

One of the players signed in training camp was George Selvie, who is tied with Ware for second on the team in sacks with six. But he hasn’t recorded one since the Vikings game, going four straight weeks without dropping the quarterback.

“I just have to keep working at it,” Selvie said. “You can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep fighting out there. That’s what we all have to do as a team. (Sacks) will come. You just have to keep getting the pressure.”

Coach Jason Garrett was asked if players such as Selvie has hit the proverbial wall.

“I think he’s a good consistent football player and has been all year long for us,” Garrett said of Selvie, who was flagged for two illegal hits on the quarterback against the Bears. “He was around the quarterback a little bit the other night in the ballgame. He comes to work every day. He’s not a dynamic, dynamic, dynamic pass rusher, but to me every game he shows up and somehow positively impacts the game.”

Selvie, of course, is starting for Anthony Spencer, who signed a $10.63 million franchise tag this year, only to play in one game because of a knee injury that eventually needed microfracture surgery.

The Cowboys have been blessed to have Selvie, who has started all 13 games at defensive end. They can’t say the same for Ware, who has started 10 games, missing the only three games of his career back in late October because of a quad strain that he says has healed 100 percent.

After Ware and Selvie, the Cowboys will likely have a new face this week in Edgar Jones, who has been on IR/Designated for Return since Week 2. Jones has been out with a groin injury that needed sports hernia surgery. He has practiced this week and Garrett said the Cowboys are expecting him to play.

At this point, after signing guys like Everette Brown, Jarius Wynn and Martez Wilson, not to mention numerous other ends who have already been signed and released, the Cowboys are hoping for some kind of spark.

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