IRVING, Texas -- Does the name Dave Ball ring a bell?
Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t. It’s not like Ball did anything during his first five NFL seasons to merit much attention.
But he’s suddenly emerged as the star of an elite pass-rushing unit in Tennessee. The Titans are tied for the NFL lead with 16 sacks. Ball, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end, has matched his previous career total with 4.5 sacks in the first four games.
The Titans’ other sacks leaders – defensive end Jason Babin (3.5) and linebacker Will Witherspoon (3.0) – are journeymen, not guys with track records as premier pass-rushers. How does this group give offensive lines so much trouble?
“They’re relentless,” Wade Phillips said. “They’re very quick off the football. They rush the passer basically every down, but they knock ‘em back enough to play the run well. Some teams can’t do that. They can’t play the run if they rush the passer, but they play the run on the way to the passer and do a good job of that.
“They’ve done it consistently four games. They’re very active and they are relentless. They’re coming hard every play.”
The Titans’ pass rush will be tested Sunday. The Cowboys have allowed a league-low one sack this season