IRVING, Texas -- Pass rushers are measured by sacks, whether that's fair or not. In his first eight games, DeMarcus Lawrence had just one sack and some wondered where the Dallas Cowboys' second-round pick from 2014 was.
The Cowboys’ coaches didn’t wonder that. He was the team's only defensive lineman with a quarterback pressure in every game this season. He was affecting the quarterback.
“He’s played really well in other areas, even when he has not gotten sacks,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think the thing that is showing up with him is his ability to run from sideline to sideline and make plays. A number of examples the last few weeks of him doing that. And really when a defensive lineman does that, it has a really positive impact on your team. Everybody sees it. We pride ourselves on everybody running to the football, everybody playing from the snap to the whistle. And a guy like that makes those kinds of plays, those tackles, by himself 40 or 50 yards away from where he lined up, that’s significant for your team.”
But in the last four games, Lawrence has four sacks so everybody is beginning to notice him.
Lawrence leads the Cowboys with five sacks.
“Getting sacks will build confidence not just for you but as a (defensive) line,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been doing a good job lately working together and getting our fits together outside and just being relentless in our rush. It’s helped me out a lot these last four weeks and hopefully we’ll just keep going after it.”
Success breeds confidence which breeds more success.
“Probably like getting hits in baseball,” Garett said. “When you get a hit your first time up, you probably feel better digging in there your next time up. Completions for a quarterback, making shots in basketball, it’s all the same kind of thing. He has had some success affecting the quarterback, being around them, sacking the quarterback.”
Getting to the quarterback is important every week, but even more so Sunday against the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers. He was gimpy when the Cowboys saw him last January in the playoffs because of a calf injury but the Cowboys only sacked him twice.
One came from Lawrence, who recorded the first sack of his career in the wild-card game a week earlier.
“I feel like we can execute way better than we did last year getting after Aaron,” Lawrence said. “I know he was banged up last year but we still didn’t affect him enough. Hopefully we can get that done this week.”