Last season the Dallas Cowboys had one of the more questionable defenses in the league. One week the guys played like a group of All-Pro’s while the next they looked like a bunch of rookies running around lost on the field.
The biggest problem the Cowboys dealt with on their defense last season was injuries. They also had to deal with inconsistent play from their top cornerbacks and secondary as well.
Last season when linebacker Sean Lee was injured before training camp is when the injury bug first bit the team. After Lee was lost for the season second round draft pick defensive end Demarcus Lawrence suffered a broken foot and was sidelined for the majority of the season.
The serious injuries didn’t stop with Lee and Lawrence either. Linebacker DeVonte Holloman saw his career come to an end after suffering a neck injury during the preseason. Even cornerback Morris Claiborne was lost for the season when he injured his knee against the New Orleans Saints just one week after making a game saving interception.
At one point it was a huge question from week to week who would even suit up on defense for the Cowboys. It did not really matter though, the guys that were available stepped up to help this team finish with a 12-4 record and a NFC East Championship. They even managed to pick up a playoff win for the first time in the Jason Garrett head coaching era.
Now that this defense has shown fans what they are capable of even being beat up, expectations are high heading into the 2015 season. This is even a team that some have picked to make a Super Bowl run.
If the Cowboys do make a run to the Super Bowl their defense will have to take more pressure off of quarterback Tony Romo and the offense. They need to make it to where opposing teams would rather face Romo instead of a nasty defense.
With the moves that were made in the offseason that seems like the direction Cowboys management wants to move in. Not only did the Cowboys address their defense through free agency they also surprisingly did it in the draft as well even after they lost their league leading running back.
May 27, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) during OTAs at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The first thing the Cowboys did was brought in defensive end Greg Hardy to help fix the problem with getting pressure on the quarterback. They also managed to land defensive end Randy Gregory with their second round draft pick.
With Hardy, Gregory, and last year second round pick Demarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys should have one of the fiercest pass rushes in football.
The Cowboys management also addressed the team’s lackluster play at cornerback by selecting Byron Jones with their first pick of the 2015 draft. At this time it is still unclear if Jones will be playing cornerback or safety throughout his career, but he should provide a huge upside at either position with the talent he has.
Second year cornerback Tyler Patmon has even shown the fight in him to start training camp. Patmon has already found himself scuffling with wide receiver Dez Bryant during practice. Patmon had Bryant so fired up instead of throwing up an X, Bryant was throwing wild punches.
Patmon needs to make sure he carries that fight and intensity over to the season. If he can get under other receivers skin the way he did Bryant, he will have guys getting thrown out of games for throwing punches.
The Cowboys will also have Sean Lee back on the field this season as long as he can avoid injury. Lee really needs to have an injury free season sometime during his career. It would be awesome if that season was now.
With the additions that have been made and guys coming back from injury, this is a defense that is perfectly capable of leading the league against both the pass and rush.The key is avoiding injuries and making careless mistakes. With the defense and offense the Cowboys have heading into the 2015 season, anything less than a NFC Championship will be a disappointing season.