Nothing is wrong with the Cowboys’ pass rush

The Dallas Cowboys started the 2022 season on a pass-rushing tear. Averaging four sacks per game through the first 12 contests, the defense led the entire NFL in the category. The combination of Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler seemed to be an unstoppable force, hell bent on taking Dallas to that elusive Promised Land.

Over the last four weeks, the situation has changed, production has tapered off and Dan Quinn’s once unstoppable force has been stonewalled, averaging less than one sack per game. This has caused a low-key panic to wash over the Cowboys fanbase. The identity that once defined the Dallas defense appears gone and the issues it once masked are getting exposed.

In the immortal words of Aaron Rodgers, “relaaaaaaax.”

The Cowboys undeniably have a number of issues facing their defense but the reality is none of those issues are the pass rush.

Despite the drop-off in sack production, the Dallas defense is doing just fine as a pass rush. Sacks are a notoriously unstable statistic which ebbs and flows regardless of how individual defensive players perform. It’s often as much a byproduct of the opposing offense as it is the defense; which happens to be the case at the moment.

Teams know the Cowboys are deadly rushing the passer so they’ve been spending less time in the pocket and more time dedicated to quick passes. The Cowboys are still getting home, passers are just releasing the ball faster.

Pressure rate is a far more stable statistic than sacks and the Cowboys happen to be leading the NFL in pressure rate. With a 41.5 percent pressure rate (Per Pro Football Focus) they are four percent higher than the second-place Eagles.

The unstable nature of sacks, combined with quick-strike passing attacks from recent opponents, perfectly explain the drop in recent sack production. Dallas’ league leading pressure rate is proof enough there is nothing wrong with the Cowboys pass-rush and sacks will inevitably reappear as quickly as they disappeared.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire