Dallas Cowboys Offseason Awards: Who is the 2014 Defensive MVP?

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The Dallas Cowboys’ defense started the 2014 season with considerably low expectations. The league’s worst defense of 2013, was returning without its best players (Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware, and Jason Hatcher), and faced some very understandable coaching criticism. Prognosticated by many as quite possibly the worst defense EVER, the Cowboys turned to Rod Marinelli to work his magic. And “magic” he worked…

The Cowboys’ defense may not have been a dominant unit in 2014, but they certainly improved, and improved more than anyone could have realistically predicted. Without the star power of previous years, the Dallas Cowboys defense worked as a unit and operated with exceptionally high-effort. As a result, a few almost-stars were born on this Dallas defense, making the Defensive MVP a difficult decision to make.

The top players earning consideration are DE Jeremy Mincey, DE/DT Tyrone Crawford, LB Rolando McClain, and CB Orlando Scandrick. The Big Four took a team of “nobodies” and turned them into definite “somebodies”. These un-pedigreed players exceeded expectations and lifted up a defense devoid of recognizable talent.

Let’s take a look at these 4 players and provide a quick analysis of their 2014 seasons and why they are being considered for the Dallas Cowboys’ Defensive MVP. Follow to the next page…


Scores and rankings are a combination of my game review and play-by-play grading. I’m not just reading a stat sheet or citing one great splash play. I grade on a

-3 thru +3 scale

and provide the average score at year’s end. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) also grades every snap of every player, similarly taking into account player assignments and execution. Although neither can be 100% effective since we don’t know every single play-call, assignment, and responsibility, it does offer a very accurate analysis that isn’t apparent on the stat sheet of highlight reel.

Next: We start with Tyrone Crawford…