FRISCO, Texas – After posting yet another game this week without recording a sack on the quarterback, one might expect head coach Mike McCarthy to be concerned about this latest trend.
But if he is, he's not admitting it – at least not to the media.
McCarthy was asked on Monday about the Cowboys failing to get a sack against the Eagles, giving them just one total sack in the last three games. They had one against the Jaguars on Dec. 18 and none before that against the Texans.
This is coming from a team had led the NFL for most of the season, but now ranks third overall with 49 sacks.
"I think the only people who need to be concerned about our pass rush are who we line up against," McCarthy said on Monday.
That would be the Tennessee Titans this Thursday in a road game against rookie quarterback Malik Willis. The Titans are coming off a loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday, extending their losing streak to five straight games.
Oddly enough, the Titans are still in the playoff hunt but the result of Thursday's game with the Cowboys has no bearing on their postseason outcome. For Tennessee, it comes down to a Week 18 game against the Jaguars to decide the winner of the AFC South. That being said, it's possible the Titans will rest some key players and/or players battling injuries.
But McCarthy and the Cowboys seem focused on their own issues, and it starts with a defense that has allowed 23, 40 and 34 points in the last three games.
When they began the season with five straight games of allowing 20 points or less, the Cowboys defense had a combined 22 sacks.
One of the differences lately is coming from the opposing side as quarterbacks are making an effort of getting the ball out quickly.
Against the Eagles, safety Jayron Kearse spoke of quarterback Gardner Minshew's quick release that didn't allow the pass rush to be effective.
"It was out so fast in this game," Kearse said. "You could tell they were making a point to do that. That's no excuse for us. We have to take advantage of that and step up and (make the) tackle. But teams are definitely getting the ball out quicker and not letting us get there."
Linebacker Micah Parsons has the Cowboys' only sack in the last three games, leading the way with 13 sacks, matching his rookie total from last season.
But the reason McCarthy may not be as worried stems from a steady pass rush that is rather consistent. Even at the end of Saturday's game, Parsons and Dante Fowler had Minshew on the run on the last two throws, forcing him to throw it away early, leading to the Cowboys' 40-34 win.
While he doesn't have huge concern, McCarthy did acknowledge the defense can improve some with their rush lanes, but he's not overly worried about a group that has carried the defense for most of the season.
The Cowboys have four players with at least five sacks, led by Parsons (13), followed by Dorance Armstrong (8), DeMarcus Lawrence (6) and Fowler (5).