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Jacksonville provides opportunity for Cowboys pass rush to excel

LONDON -- If the Cowboys’ pass rush can’t get to Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, then you probably shouldn’t expect it to get to any other quarterback this season.

Jacksonville has yielded 35 sacks this season, most in the NFL and five more than any other team. The Jaguars have yielded a league-leading 15 sacks on first down and third down.

The Jaguars have allowed at least three sacks in six different games this season.

The Cowboys had three sacks against Washington, their season-high, and Henry Melton has had 3.5 sacks in the past two games.

Of course, defensive coordiantor Rod Marinelli isn’t satisfied.

“He’s getting a little bit better, but he’s not there yet,” Marinelli said of Melton. “But he’s starting to improve. I want to see more. It’s still not good enough.”

Melton, who missed the final 13 games of last season with a torn ACL, was hampered by a groin strain in training camp and did not play in the preseason.

He’s getting a little healthier each week, and it’s showing in his pass rush. Marinelli said he might use Melton more on first down this week, but doesn’t want his snap count going past 30.

When DeMarcus Lawrence plays defensive end, the Cowboys might move Jeremy Mincey to defensive tackle in nickel situations to take advantage of his pass-rush skills.

Only four teams have fewer sacks than the 12 the Cowboys have accumulated this season. Other than Melton, no one on the Cowboys has more than one sack.

If the Cowboys can get a lead early, something they did often during their 6-1 start, then they have a chacne to make Jacksonville one dimensional.

That’s the best way to jump-start a pass rush.