LONDON — Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is heavy on criticism and light on praise, but the first-year coordinator for Dallas was impressed with his unit’s effort against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 31-17 win.
Said Marinelli: "I think it was good, solid work."
The Dallas defense forced two turnovers: safety Barry Church’s fumble recovery of Jaguars running back Denard Robinson and linebacker Bruce Carter’s interception of quarterback Blake Bortles.
The Cowboys had a rookie of their own, linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who had an impressive outing.
Fellow linebacker Kyle Wilber is "very proud" of the rookie.
"Hitcens is playing his ass off," the third-year veteran out of Wake Forest said.
"He’s balling. He’s playing — he’s one of the best linebackers that we have. He’s playing amazing right now."
Hitchens had a fourth-and-1 stop when the Cowboys were up 31-7 early in the third quarter that help keep the boot on the Jaguars’ throat. It was the second time this season that Hitchens was involved in a fourth-and-short play that the Cowboys defense stifled.
Veteran linebacker Bruce Carter was in on the stop too, and Wilber had glowing words for the fourth-year pro.
"You know, just great leadership by Bruce Carter," said Wilber.
"We made a number of good stops throughout the game," head coach Jason Garrett said.
Now at 7-3, the focus is on the final six games of the year. In the Garrett era, since 2010, the Cowboys have gone 11-13 in the final six games of seasons. In the past three years, the Cowboys have had to play a "win and get in" game in Week 17 for the division, and have lost for three straight years.
What can the defense do differently?
"One game at a time," cornerback Brandon Carr said.
"Put our all into each game. One game at a time. One week at a time. You know, and at the end of the season, we’ll see if we’re in it in the end."