Here is a stat you might not have been aware of: There is no NFC team that has allowed fewer sacks than the Dallas Cowboys (12). 6 teams in the AFC have allowed fewer, including the amazing Indianapolis Colts who once again lead the NFL in fewest sacks allowed with just 7 in 7 games. Peyton Manning is the QB sacked the fewest times pretty much every year of his career. Getting rid of the football before they hit you is an underrated art form that should not be marginalized. The Colts line is nothing special at all, but after Manning was sacked twice on Opening Day by the Texans, it has been 5 sacks in 6 games against Manning.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys have surrendered just 12 - including 6 to the Titans on 1 day. But, we should remember that this is sometimes misleading. I think we look at sacks to determine the ability of a pass rush and we look at sacks allowed to consider pass protection ability. That is part of the formula, but not the whole thing. Remember, there were times (at Minnesota) where it seemed like the scheme was designed to concede certain options in exchange for not leaving yourself vulnerable in pass protection. It is a choice that the coaches have to consider. Do I ask my QB to stand tall and deliver while taking punishment? Or do I have him throw 17 screens so we don't get him killed?
2 sacks against Jacksonville and both were out of shotgun. On the other hand, this whole offense is pretty much shotgun these days, so I am not sure we can draw too many conclusions from that pattern. The Cowboys are averaging over 32 snaps a game in shotgun, and it is quickly rising with Kitna in for Romo.
Play #44 - 1/10/21 SACK "S11" Alualu/Kampman
What Happened: Here is a good example of why playing a rookie is a difficult proposition. They weren't doing this sort of thing with these sorts of guys at Maryland. Aaron Kampman and Tyson Alualu both realize that Phil Costa might be the weak link to attack on this offensive line. So, they run a classic "Tackle/End Game" to test his ability. The idea here is for one man (Alualu) to try to take his man (Costa) into the other man's man (Colombo). Then, Kampman who will twist behind Alualu, and come free at the QB. This seldom works this perfectly in practice. Alualu is such a force with his strength and quickness, that he has Costa beat to the seam and Costa's handoff is not going to work to Free. Meanwhile, Kampman's timing is perfect enough that again we have Costa with two guys to block at the same time. When he is a bit stronger and experienced, he will be able to hand the tackle to Free and get back to the end in time, but not in his first NFL start. Credit Jacksonville for picking the low-hanging fruit. Incidentally, there was a lot of giggling on NFL Draft Day when the Jaguars selected Alualu "too high". Well, after watching him on Sunday absolutely destroy 3 or 4 plays by himself, I don't believe anyone who witnessed that thinks they reached too early. By the way, the Cowboys wanted him at their pick, but he was long gone so they traded up for Dez Bryant.
Play #48 - 2/10/13 SACK Knighton/Hart- S11
What Happened: Here is a play where the Cowboys miss Tony Romo's ability to get the ball out quickly. Kitna is trying to make a play, but his pocket is collapsing all around him. It is tough to blame Doug Free or Marc Colombo because there is a point in the play where the ball has got to be delivered. Nevertheless, Free does get walked back into the QB by a linebacker, and Leonard Davis and Colombo are dealing with another E-T stunt on the right side and Aaron Kampman is again running free with Davis chasing him from behind. Travis Knighton has the play flushed to him, and Hart is credited with the sack. But, in a situation like this, I think Kitna has to get rid of it.
Season To Date Sacks
The Rankings for the season in Sacks Allowed among the OL: Davis 3, Coverage 2.5, Colombo 2, Costa 2, Free 1.5, Gurode 1
Bob Sturm is host of BaD Radio on The Ticket 1310 AM Mondays through Fridays at 12-3 p.m. He also hosts The Ticket's Cowboys pregame show. Follow Bob on Twitter at
www.twitter.com/bobanddan Bob offers his exclusive analysis after games on SportsDayDFW.com
Read all of Bob's posts at this link