Dallas Cowboys

Rams offensive linemen say Cowboys defensive line tipped its hand

Leighton Vander Esch on Rams running backs: ‘They ran their butts off today’

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch gave props to Los Angeles Rams running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, who both rushed for over 100 yards in their 30-22 win Saturday night.
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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch gave props to Los Angeles Rams running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, who both rushed for over 100 yards in their 30-22 win Saturday night.

Did it seem like the Los Angeles Rams knew exactly how to attack the Dallas Cowboys’ defense?

Apparently they did.

Two Rams’ offensive linemen told The Ringer that the Cowboys’ defensive line was tipping its hand before each snap Saturday night, which helped Los Angeles rack up a season-high 273 yards rushing. It’s the most rushing yards the Cowboys have allowed in seven years.

“They have good players, but ... we had a lot of tips and tells on what they were going to do in front of us,” Rams center John Sullivan said.

What were the Cowboys linemen doing? Sullivan and right guard Austin Blythe told The Ringer that depending on how defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods were set up before a snap, the Rams knew if a stunt was coming. For instance, if “Collins was shaded closer to the tackle instead of the guard, the Rams figured a stunt may be coming,” Danny Heifetz wrote.

“If the Rams saw Collins lined up slightly wider than usual, they looked for a second tell. If a certain Cowboys lineman had a specific hand on the ground—right or left—or if a player was tilted one way or the other, it confirmed what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do.”

“If [the defensive tackle] is going to come in, the tell is going to come in from the other side,” said Blythe, who figured the Rams had a tell on more than 90 percent of the snaps in their 30-22 win Saturday night.



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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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