I am not sure how long it will take for me to shake that awful feeling I got every time the Cowboys Defense took the field last Season. There is also reason to believe that the unit will not be better at all, I mean they have already lost their best defensive player for the Season. That being Sean Lee of course. Add to that the fact that they cut their second and third best defensive players ( Ware and Hatcher), and who knows? Could they actually be worse? Not a chance, they will be drastically improved.
This is a unit that has a lot to prove. Everybody from Morris Claiborne to Brandon Carr, Bruce Carter to the newly acquired Rolando McClain. This Season will be the last bite at the apple for these guys, specifically playing in Dallas. Every single player on this unit is going to play with a chip on their shoulder.
Rod Marinelli is a guy who takes a lot of pride in his work, rest assured that he will tweak this “Tampa Two” and put his players in better situations than his elder statesman was able to do last Season. If you look at his days in Chicago, that was a hybrid version of his scheme. I totally expect him to come up with brand new tweaks of the scheme this year, if that means more man coverage then so-be-it. One thing is for certain, he will have a young, hungry squad. If you ask me, that beats old and tired.
Two players that I am counting on to make huge leaps this year are Morris Claiborne and Bruce Carter. Claiborne has had more bad luck than anything, if he stays healthy he will be a difference maker. Count on it. Bruce Carter took a lot of flack last year, I believe it was a bit over-stated. He wasn’t as bad as people think. He plays a crucial position in this scheme and he will be leaps and bounds ahead of last year. Count on it.
I like the fact that the Cowboys let Hatcher and Ware walk. The Cowboys will have a plethora of young D-linemen to throw in to the mix. There will be competition at Safety and two out of three Linebacker spots are up for grabs. Basically, everybody on this unit has to earn their job. Competition breeds success, in this case the Cowboys are relying on it.