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Patrick’s POV: Cowboys find pass rush complement in DE Robert Quinn

After struggling for years to find a pass rush threat to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas is enjoying the spoils of the offseason trade for DE Robert Quinn.
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn (58) sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys finally played a team with a winning record and the result wasn’t what many expected or wanted. However, there are plenty of positives for the team, even after a 12-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The offense won’t get many plaudits for its performance from Sunday but the defense was able to keep Dallas in the game. In many ways, this is how the Cowboys were expected to play this season. 

Over the last eight plus quarters, the defense hasn’t allowed a single touchdown since 2:20 left in the Washington game in Week 2 when Terry McLaurin scored after Dallas was already up 31-14. Since that time, the Cowboys have given up just 18 points by the way of six field goals.

A big reason for why the Cowboys are keeping teams out of the end zone, and one of those positives from Sunday, has been the addition of Robert Quinn. 

Following the game two weeks ago against Miami where he was shaking off the rust of a two-game suspension to begin the season, Quinn was a man on a mission in the game against New Orleans. That mission was to punish New Orleans’ backup QB Teddy Bridgewater.

For the most part, Quinn has succeeded in giving Dallas something they’ve lacked in recent years. While Dallas has enjoyed the emergence of DeMarcus Lawrence as one of the premier pass rushers in the league, the players on the opposite side of the line have been inconsistent at best. Quinn’s individual stat line shows that he’s getting the job done.

Since being activated for Week 3, the former Ram and Dolphin has amassed three sacks, four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and one pass defended. All in all, that is a solid line for a player who is expected to be the team’s second best pass rusher, and one who is new to the team. 

On the field, Quinn looks more like the guy who has 29.5 sacks over the 2013 and 2014 seasons and less so like the guy who looked like he was starting to slow down in the past couple of seasons. Indeed, Quinn looks rejuvenated lining up as Lawrence’s bookend partner. 

The offseason trade that sent a 2020 sixth round selection to Miami for Quinn is looking like a steal for Dallas. 

The former Tar Heel is providing Dallas with the kind of play they expected out of Randy Gregory on the weak side. And the benefits of having a successful secondary pass rusher is symbiotic as, the more he can play at this level, the less pressure on Lawrence to do it all by himself. 

The team has been looking for that pass rusher who could be productive as the weak side defensive end and thus far Quinn has answered the call.

As the Cowboys get further into their schedule with games against Green Bay and Philadelphia coming up over the next few weeks, Quinn will need to continue his standout play. 

Cowboy fans are far too familiar with what Aaron Rodgers can do when he has all day to stand in the pocket. It’s not just the sacks that will help this team but Quinn’s relentless motor – which was evident against New Orleans – but his ability to disrupt the protection and force quick decisions. 

As teams shift protection to keep Quinn at bay, it’ll allow the interior linemen, and most importantly Lawrence, to get more opportunities to be just as disruptive.

As it sits now, Robert Quinn’s acquisition looks to be one of the smarter moves this front office pulled off over the offseason. With the pending free agents looking to get their piece of the pie, Quinn might be another name for Stephen Jones to consider.

Do you think the Robert Quinn and the Cowboys will continue to have success at rushing the passer? Share your thoughts on the Dallas defense thus far with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.

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