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Defensive Battle? Cowboys On Par With Rams


FRISCO, Texas – Alright, we know Aaron Donald is spectacular. We also know that Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey are as good as it gets when it comes to their respective positions. They have certainly earned the praise they receive.

And for that matter, so do the Rams as a whole. After all they are the reigning and defending Super Bowl champs and Donald was a massive part of that with the game sealing play against the Bengals in February.

"It's all respect for [Donald]," DeMarcus Lawrence said. "Being able to play three-technique the way he does you have to compliment his power, his instincts, and his play type. He's up there all around the board."

Though in that same breath Lawrence also said they aren't playing just Donald.

But let's not forget which defense leads the league is pressures through the first four weeks of the season. Or which team has yet to allow more than 20 points in each game they have played during that span.

Oh, and is also tied for second in the league with 15 sacks. That would be Micah Parsons, Lawrence, and co. Head coach Mike McCarthy said it best early this week when he labeled the defense the "thermostat" of the team.

"Most definitely," Lawrence said when asked if he agreed with McCarthy's statement. "But also, with that thermostat comes the offense and being able to keep that energy up and play complimentary football. That's what it's really about."

Tank is right obviously. The offense has made improvements the last three weeks under Cooper Rush alongside CeeDee Lamb and the running attack. But make no mistake... the defense has been the calling card for the 'Boys.

The Cowboys will see a beat-up Rams offensive line ahead of them that allowed seven sacks to the 49ers and Week 4, the Cowboys are primed to increase their sacks totals in what might be their biggest test of the season.

The front seven and the pass rushing attack has rightfully assumed the majority of the praise thus far for the reasons mentioned above, and it hasn't just been Parsons and Lawrence. Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler have done their part, just as Neville Gallimore and Osa Odighizuwa on the interior.

However, the linebackers and the secondary have been just as impressive. Donovan Wilson leads the team in tackles with 33 and a sack to go along with that, while Malik Hooker sits in fifth on the team with 20 tackles. Now that safety group could potentially add last year's leading tackling in Jayron Kearse back into the fold in time for the Rams.

Leighton Vander Esch has quietly had a resurgent year of sorts with 27 tackles, good for second on the team, and Trevon Diggs has picked right back where he left off last season with two picks and plenty of pass deflections.

"I feel like it gets offenses out of their true nature of what they want to do," Lawrence said of having elite players at all three levels of the defense. "Being able to see rushers all across the ball, if you see Anthony Barr and Leighton Vander Esch behind us, they look like defensive ends."

Then again Lawrence emphasized the versatility and different ways in which the defense can attack has a big component to their success. And of course, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

"Being able to have a different arsenal of rushers or [defensive backs] to play different positions and give them different looks and schemes, it's hard to sit there with 25 seconds on the clock," Lawrence said. "It's a compliment to [Quinn] and the system that he put us in and a compliment to the tough players we have."

With the defense drawing so much attention this season where in prior years it was the offense that would be in that spot, Lawrence was asked when the defense became the thermostat in Dallas.

His answer was exactly what you would expect: "When they got me."

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