Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence missed much of the 2016 season.
He was out for the first four games of the year with a suspension, and then suffered a back injury that required surgery. In all, Lawrence played only nine games and recorded just one sack.
A season later, Lawrence has been arguably the league's most effective pass rusher through three games. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month after recording a league-leading 6.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits in September. Plus, the defensive end has six tackles for loss.
"Just flip on the tape and he's a scary player," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I've always had a lot of respect for DeMarcus. He's had some different things over the last couple years, but when 90's been available for them, you certainly feel him and notice him as an offensive coach. And he can wreck a game if you're not careful."
Lawrence was dominant last week against the Cardinals — mainly rushing from the offense's right — recording 3.0 sacks, three tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits. But he wasn't quite satisfied with his performance.
"Not good enough," Lawrence told Dallas media, via dallascowboys.com. "I left a lot out there on the table. Got to get better from this point on."
Los Angeles is fully aware of Lawrence's rushing prowess, particularly as it relates to what he was able to do against Arizona.
"He's a good player — he gets paid, too — and made some good plays on Monday night," quarterback Jared Goff said. "He's a great player and [someone], definitely, we're going to be aware of."
"I think he just did what he does," right guard Jamon Brown said. "He rushes the passer well. In my opinion, he's their best pass rusher on their D-line."
So how do the Rams contain Lawrence? The offensive line clearly has respect for him and his abilities. But the group also feels confident in the scheme and game plan the coaches have set forth.
"It's not really about worrying about what he does. It's just all about making sure we do what we have to do," Brown said. "And as long as we stick to our technique and what we do, we'll be fine. There's no need to kind of over-stress about him or one particular player — it's just making sure that we lock in and do what we have to do."