Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New England Patriots tight endRob Gronkowski
(87) runs after a reception in the fourth quarter against Dallas Cowboys cornerbackByron Jones
(31) linebackerSean Lee
(50) and cornerbackMorris Claiborne
(24) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Against the Patriots the Dallas defense showed not only life, but a glimpse of what could be as the season goes on.
First, let’s be very clear here: First-round draft pick Byron Jones did a fantastic job on tight end Rob Gronkowski. This might have been one of the best performances by a rookie cornerback against Gronk, ever. If it wasn’t for a an illegal pick play, Jones would have looked absolutely dominant against the tight end. If there was an overlooked bright spot in this blowout loss, it was the job Jones did against Tom Brady’s favorite target. The future looks bright for him.
The defensive front looked really sharp with defensive end Greg Hardy leading the way in pummeling Brady early in the game. The linebackers helped in run support and looked sharp on the short passes.
Where the defense needs to tweak itself is the back half of the secondary; yes we are looking at you Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, and Danny McCray. The tackling has been terrible with the safeties and at times it’s been completely removed from a play due to a pump fake or double move by a receiver.
If they can tighten up the tackling and play the right angles, the defense could be one of the surprises of the league. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had better be thinking about this as something to fix when the players return next week.
The numbers on missed tackled don’t look so bad here. The issue isn’t that they are missing a ton of tackles, it is where they are missing them and when they are missing them.
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