IRVING, Texas – It remains to be seen whether or not the Cowboys' defensive play the last two weeks is a sign of what's to come or simply a result of facing two quarterbacks in a complete groove.
The Cowboys' defensive play the last two weeks marks a stark contrast from the attacking group that brought relentless pressure to start the year. Sean Lee is confident the Cowboys' defense has the pieces and the scheme to get back to its early ways, when Dallas led the NFC with 13 sacks through three weeks.
"I have an unbelievable amount of faith in our teammates, in this defense and in the coaches," Lee said. "We're going to find a way to get it better."
In their last six quarters of football, the Cowboys' defense has allowed 774 total net yards without a single sack. That has a great deal to do with facing Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning, but those numbers make it difficult for any team hoping to pull out a victory.
Lee doesn't blame anything on the coaches or the system the last couple weeks. He said it comes down to fundamentals and the players on the field.
"As players, it's on us to make more plays," he said. "We haven't been able to get off the field. We haven't executed well. That's squarely on us as players to find a way to get better.
"We understand what we need to do. We understand the work we need to put in. We know a performance like that's unacceptable if you want to be a winning football team."
The lack of pressure up front has led to brilliant performances for opposing quarterbacks the last two weeks. Through five weeks of the season, three opposing quarterbacks have thrown for at least 400 yards against the Cowboys. [embedded_ad]
Injuries on the defensive line may finally be catching up. The Cowboys withstood the losses of Tyrone Crawford, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff early on, but DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher have both been dinged up in recent weeks, forcing the Cowboys to utilize a variety of newcomers on the line.
Still, Lee believes the Cowboys have the personnel to make the system work. He also said the Cowboys have all the players they need currently on the roster.
"We have an unbelievable amount of belief in the scheme and all of our coaches," Lee said. "It's us as players that are making mistakes on the field."
Hatcher, who said he left Sunday's game with a stinger before returning, shoulders a lot of that blame on the guys up front. He said Manning and the Broncos did a good job wearing the line down.
The defensive tackle, who had a sack in each of the Cowboys' first three games, said teams are doing a better job of scheming, double-teaming and chipping, but those can't be excuses. He said he's got to find a way to split the double team, because the lack of pressure on the quarterback the last couple weeks hasn't been acceptable.
"It's getting kind of frustrating," Hatcher said. "It's tough when guys kind of find out who you are and what you can do. Like I said, you get more double teams, but I've got to find a way to put myself in a better situation so I can create 1-on-1s and go out there and win them and get to the quarterback."