Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has a simple formula for keeping Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in check on Sunday.
“You can’t just let him run around,” Lawrence said. “We’ve got to contain him, keep him in the pocket and make sure we hit him.
“Any quarterback, you hit them, they’re going to freeze up. So we’ve got to put the pressure on from the start to end.”
The Cowboys have seen Rodgers the past two seasons, and haven’t had much luck getting pressure on him. In the 2014 playoff game, Lawrence and Jeremy Mincey accounted for the only sacks against Rodgers.
Last season, Lawrence and Greg Hardy each recorded sacks against Rodgers.
“He likes to move around a lot,” Lawrence said. “It’s tough when the offensive line stays attacking, they try to stay on blocks. He’s very shifty. That’s why I’m saying we didn’t do a good job of keeping him in the pocket.
“We’ve got to put more pressure on him and just keep him in the pocket. I don’t think we did that the first game or the last game.”
For Lawrence, it’s a good sign that he has been able to get sacks against Rodgers and is hungry to get his first this season. Lawrence served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy to open the season, and returned last week against the Bengals.
Lawrence played only 17 snaps, both at right and left defensive end, but didn’t record any stats.
Asked about picking up his first sack, Lawrence said: “I stay hungry. I don’t like quarterbacks. When I get a chance to face one, I’m going out there with all I’ve got. Hopefully this is the one.”
Lawrence is expected to see his playing time increase this weekend, although the Cowboys are being cautious in how much work they give him as he works his way back into game shape.
Lawrence feels he could play the entire game, but understands why he’s getting eased back into the rotation.
But there’s no question about his impact on the field. The Cowboys had a season-high four sacks last week against the Bengals, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli feels this is a better pass rush than they had in the playoff loss.
“The one thing I like is the energy they bring every day,” Marinelli said. “They bring great energy, great desire to get better. Their work habits are off the charts. If they keep that going, we’ve got a chance to improve a little bit every week. Just want to keep gradually improving.”