IRVING, Texas – The cycling in and out of linemen all year isn't an excuse for a lack of pressure in the eyes of assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett.
Lett said consistent pressure in this 4-3 scheme is critical, and with a "rush and cover" motto, the Cowboys' front four has to get up field quickly. That has to happen even with new players coming out of free agency and onto the Cowboys' roster every week.
"I feel like we can do much better," Lett said. "I feel like we have to do much better to help the defense and to win games."
Defensive tackle Corvey Irvin is the latest in a long line of former free agents to sign with the Cowboys during this season. The Cowboys have been making a living out of signing linemen the week of a game and having them suit up that weekend.
If they can't do the job, they'll find themselves free agents once again. But some players have stuck, including Drake Nevis, who signed Sept. 24, and Jarius Wynn, who signed Oct. 15. George Selvie has been a star at defensive end since signing in training camp.
"The guys that we bring in are already good players," Lett said. "They really are, they just for whatever reason and didn't make it. We take a good long look at them before they come in, so we know what type of guys we're getting. [embedded_ad]
"The guys kind of come in and do a good job. A lot of those guys are motivated, kind of on their last leg type situation. SO they're coming in and they're highly motivated. It's easy to work with them."
The Cowboys were among the better teams at getting to the quarterback early on, but with more and more injuries their sack totals have dropped the defense back in the pack. They had just one sack against the Saints, two against the Vikings and one against the Lions in their last three games.
Lett said this is one of the toughest moments in his coaching career, and early on in the year it was difficult for him not to wonder what the line might look like if the projected front four from the start of the year was still intact.
But he said he's embracing the opportunity and thankful to the organization for putting him in this spot, and he believes the line can get better with current personnel and with Rod Marinelli leading the group.
"You've just got to move on and work with the guys that you have," Lett said. "Like I said earlier, these guys are really good men. They're motivated. They want to do their best, and they're taking tough coaching because we get after them pretty good. They're doing a good job."