Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee (50) and Dallas Cowboys defensive back Tyler Patmon (26) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Much has been said about the improvements to a Cowboys defense that definitely over-achieved a year ago.
Aside from the names already mentioned before that would not be a part of last year’s plans, there was also the mid-summer loss of middle linebacker Sean Lee and early regular-season injury to former first-round selection Morris Claiborne.
Yes, the defense was definitely short-handed and also in a state of serious change heading into 2014. It was kind of like an army of 5,000 men only having about 2,500 available for a coming battle.
Well, this year isn’t much different and for several reasons.
Cowboys fans aren’t going to see what this year’s vastly improved defense is all about until early October. That’s when four-game suspensions being served by new defensive end Greg Hardy and middle linebacker Rolando McClain will be over and hopefully these two will be available.
Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
In fact, it might not be until late October or early November before this unit really gels and the maximum results are evident.
Last, but certainly not least, is the season-ending injury to badly needed cornerback Orlando Scandrick just as training camp was coming to an end in Oxnard a couple of weeks ago.
I do believe that this defense is much improved from where it was a year ago. Last April’s draft haul of defensive back Byron Jones and defensive ends Randy Gregory and Ryan Russell have certainly added youth and talent to a defense that sorely needed it.
Yet those guys are all rookies, and with Hardy and McClain out and Lee now playing a different position at outside linebacker, I’m not sure we can expect a dominant performance against the Giants at this early juncture.
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