What does the Cowboys defense have to do to stop the Rams?

The games of week 4 undoubtedly balanced the scales of what this contest will be. While Los Angeles deserves a lot of respect for being the defending champion, they don’t arrive with a good present. Especially on this side of the ball, he’s having a lot of drawbacks that the defense could easily exploit. Having Sean McVay as a head coach is quite beneficial. However, the unit in question is going through an instance of uncertainty.

Pass rushers vs. offensive line

The possibility of success as visitors will be in this pairing. In no other area is there such an obvious downside to a set as here. The good thing is that Dallas emerges precisely as the one with an ideal scenario in front of it. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth’s retirement after the Super Bowl is something they haven’t worked out yet.

Although that important position is not the only one with absences. On the contrary, they are using several substitutes. The point to explode is possibly the center. On Monday Night Football against the 49ers they also lost someone who was the substitute, so now they must settle for their third member of the depth chart.

The problems protecting Matthew Stafford thus far have been apparent. His 16 sacks are the second-highest mark, just one behind Carson Wentz. In the next section I’m going to talk a little bit more about the quarterback, but this sector is part of his bad level. The opposite occurs on defense.

Four games in, there’s no question the Cowboys have a top-3 unit in the NFL. Almost all categories leave them among the best. They rank second with 15 sacks, first in QB hits with 36 and fourth in sack percentage per pass attempt with 9.6%. All of those condiments should result in suffocating pressure on the opposing offense.

A good appearance against the Washington Commanders was Neville Gallimore. The tackle was very disruptive both on the ground and going for the quarterback. The versatility that Micah Parsons provides to be lined up on the inside is another variant that will surely be used in Los Angeles. This matchup comes as another opportunity to continue to terrify offensive linemen.

Air defense vs. Air attack

The Rams were one of the explosive offenses last season. His main weapon is logically Cooper Kupp by far. The wide receiver leads the league in receptions with 42. In passes to him he is also above the rest with 54. To complete his outstanding statistics, it is necessary to take into account that he averages 100.5 yards per game.

Kupp is the player to contain for the defense as the absolute priority. The difficulty of facing this wide receiver is in his excellence to run routes. On medium or short runs he is essentially lethal to any cornerback. Another element he adds to his arsenal is the yards he gets after he catches the ball.

All of his features are combined with McVay’s ability to line him up on multiple sites. For that reason it will be difficult to make individual coverage. In the pre-snap movements they usually leave him with slower linebackers or even with the confusion that generates that action before snapping they can get great results. However, there is a big advantage in the current situation in Los Angeles.

Stafford is only looking for him on every play. Secondary options are hardly exploited in any instance. Next in yards is tight end Tyler Higbee with 244. Who was supposed to be the WR2 is Allen Robinson, but it is clear that he has not yet found the required connection with the quarterback.

The other tool to take advantage of is at the passer level this season. Stafford leads the NFL with six interceptions. On Monday, for example, he had a pick six that defined the fall of his team. From what has been shown in these four performances, it is evident that he is not being a fluid offensive at all because they cannot find alternatives to his star.

Logically Trevon Diggs will have a very important task. While Kupp’s style represents true kryptonite for what Diggs prefers to do, the fronts help him a lot. Since there is not as much time to throw the ball due to the pressure of the pass rushers, those double movements lose a bit of risk. In this case, the defense will have to force Stafford to rely on a receiver other than Kupp.

Ground defense vs. ground attack

One area Dallas has room to improve on is stopping running backs. The 137.5 yards allowed per game is the sixth highest number. He ranks eighth in yards per attempt, conceding five on average. At SoFi Stadium, though, that shouldn’t be such a big deal.

Possibly a considerable explanation for the shortcomings of the air attack is the absence of an efficient complement. The Rams are the third worst team in the NFL for receiving yards this way at 68.5 per game. In yards per carry they are in 29th place with 3.3, so there is a noticeable complication in running the ball.

Los Angeles’ leader in that category is Darrell Henderson with 138. For that reason, it won’t be necessary to fill the box with defenders, but prioritizing coverage will be best. One issue that the unit should take into account is screen passes. That often works as an extension of the ground attack because of how little you risk with each delivery.

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What does the Cowboys defense have to do to stop the Rams?