ARLINGTON, Texas — Rob Ryan’s multiple defensive schemes are designed to keep opposing quarterbacks guessing which defenders will be rushing the passer on every play.
The Cowboys defensive coordinator has a reputation of being one of the best coaches in the game when it comes to disguising defenses. Saturday night’s 20-19 preseason win over the St. Louis Rams showcased this when an outside linebacker, an inside linebacker, a defensive end and a cornerback each recorded a sack.
“Coach Ryan has a lot of variations and a lot of pressures that are fun to run,” said Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee. “We all get hyped up trying to run pressures because we know how smart he is and we have a good shot at getting there.”
Entering his third season, Lee has yet to record a sack in a regular season game. However, he leveled Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford early in the second quarter Saturday during a third-and-5 situation.
“It felt good coming off the edge,” Lee said. “It was something that Coach Ryan dialed up. I came free and we had great pressure.”
Starting defensive end Jason Hatcher only played 12 snaps but he made an impact on his fourth play from scrimmage, sacking Bradford on third-and-7, forcing the Rams to go three-and-out on their opening possession.
“I love getting sacks, man,” said Hatcher, who tallied 4.5 sacks in 2011. “Hopefully there’s a ton more coming.”
Through three preseason games, the Cowboys have received three sacks from defensive ends, two from outside linebackers, one from an inside linebacker and one from a cornerback. And none of them were recorded by DeMarcus Ware (19.5 sacks in 2011) or Anthony Spencer (6.0), the Cowboys’ leading pass rushers from a year ago.