Do The Dallas Cowboys Have The Worst Front Seven


Aug 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli talks strategy with defensive end

Landon Cohen

(92) during fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 12-7. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

So yesterday there appeared on the internet two articles looking at the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. ESPN ranked the roster at 18th in terms of talent. The catch on that was that most of the players who graded as good or better were on offense. Only Henry Melton graded out as good or better on defense (Sean Lee wasn’t in the ranking due to injury). In another article on Sports on Earth they looked at the Cowboys’ front seven and stated they are the worst of the entire NFL.

“How on earth did the Dallas Cowboys get here,” is a question that has been asked over and over. It isn’t really an easy answer, but there are answers. First, Jerry Jones has invested heavily in the draft on offense. The multiple picks on tight ends, wide receivers, and running backs in the early rounds puts many late round picks on the defense.

Another issue is injuries. This team has a problem with injuries, and it seems many of the stars have been a part of this string of injuries. Another reason is bad contracts have plagued this team. Jerry knows how to make money, but there are questions whether he can spend it. He overpays some people, underpays others, and puts the team in salary cap issues every year with his back-loaded contracts.

So is the Dallas Cowboys’ front seven the worst in football? Well, that is what makes this ranking so on point, and possibly way off. There is no way of knowing that. Rod Marinelli is working with a lot of unknowns and second tier players. While he wants to send waves of players like he did in Chicago, he had a young Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, and Melton there. While we are not sure what the new guys can do yet, looking at the roster does not give confidence that the Jones’ actually improved the defense.

Here is a case in point: Rod Marinelli was working with Martez Wilson and yelled, “Come on Martez, be a money player!” This makes me stop and think, money player, who on this front seven is a money player? If the Dallas Cowboys had Josh Brent back, maybe. If Anthony Spencer plays, maybe. The rookies, maybe. Melton, is the only name I could come up with that is a true money player. I could hear an argument on George Selvie. That puts two, and only two true money players on the front seven. Bruce Carter could be, if he could get the game figured out. Durant and Holloman, are not exactly LBs that many teams fear. This front seven could be the worst in football.

Wait a minute, could the Dallas Cowboys surprise everyone? The simple answer is yes. By sending waves of players, it keeps people fresh and will help the defense wear down an offensive line. The other thing no one knows is how these players will work together. The skills of one player may be suited to compliment the guys next to him. The linebackers could very well play better than they did last year. And again, who knows about the rookies. If everyone fits well, stays fresh, and plays within their talents in the system this could be a better defense than apparently many experts think.

Did anyone know Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, or Cliff Avril before the last season or 2? All it would take is some guys stepping up and being a money player.