The Dallas Cowboys had a top-10 defense last season and are expected to duplicate last season’s success, but the defense has gotten off to a slow start.
The Dallas Cowboys have waited a very long time to put a legitimate defense on the field. In 2018, the Cowboys found their mojo and produced a top-10 defense for the first time in several years.
Once upon a time, the Cowboys and defense were an oxymoron.
Simply put, the Cowboys’ defense used to be mediocre at best and below average at worst. Last season, when the Cowboys’ defense beat down Drew Brees and the high flying New Orleans Saints 13-10, it marked the team as a legit playoff contender and a dominant defense more than capable of stopping a high octane offense.
Flash forward to the 2019 season and the Cowboys defense is a shell of the itself from last season. In its first three games this season, the Cowboys have played the easiest schedule in the NFL-the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, and the lowly, pathetic Miami Dolphins.
After facing inferior competition, its time for Dallas to up the ante and fix this defense. PERIOD.
I do not want to hear anything about how Dallas’ defense is ranked top-five in the league in scoring defense, how Dallas’ defense is making plays when it has to, or that Dallas’ defense will get better in due time.
All of that is excuses, excuses, and more excuses. This defense has not played good, has not lived up to their lofty expectations, and has not played at the elite level with so many talented players on defense. My goodness, D-Law just recorded his first sack of the season against the Dolphins.
After signing a five-year $105 million contract extension with $65 million guaranteed, D-Law should have more than 1.5 sacks against the likes of the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins. D-Law has been missing in action (like my hairline).
Sorry, but more much is expected from a player of D-Law’s ilk when he’s faced some of the worse offensive lines in the league – even if he’s double-teamed more than anyone else.
Come on man, D-Law is supposed to have at least five sacks by now and en route to his third consecutive Pro Bowl.
To put this into perspective, Dallas’ defense has a total of 5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and zero interceptions in this young season. Wow.
Compare that to their NFC counterpart, the Chicago Bears. The Bears defense ranks third in the league, has tallied 11 sacks, four interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.
Bears All Pro Khalil Mack has recorded three sacks and is leading the way for the Bears defense to produce another magnificent season. The Bears defense illustrated their defensive prowess against the Redskins on Monday night by forcing five turnovers that included three interceptions (one for a touchdown) and two recovered fumbles.
Compare that game to when Dallas played the Skins and Dallas forced no turnovers and recorded one sack. There were times where Skins quarterback Case Keenum resembled a Hall of Fame quarterback because Dallas’ defense could not get to him or pressure him. That’s sad on so many levels.
The same can be said about Dallas’ defense in how quarterback Josh Rosen really looked like a first round pick for most of the game. Sure, Dallas sacked Rosen three times but it took them forever to get a sack and Rosen moved the ball down field with ease throughout the game.
Heck, Dallas only had a 10-6 lead going into halftime. If the Dolphins are as pathetic as we believe them to be, explain why Dallas’ defense didn’t create more turnovers and sack Rosen numerous times?
And speaking of turnovers, Dallas’ secondary needs a wake up and start intercepting passes. Defensive back Chidobe Awuzie was consistently targeted against the Dolphins and that’s because Awuzie does not turn around and look for the ball. It’s sad because Awuzie is there to make a play on the ball if he only turned his head around.
Awuzie does not get burned because of poor technique. It’s because Awuzie has poor awareness of the ball.
To put it bluntly, its not good sign when Rosen, Keenum, and recently benched Eli Manning can target you as the weakest link in a secondary and look good doing it. Speaking of signs, its never a good sign when a defense cannot dominate a weaker opponent like the ones Dallas has faced.
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Look at how Dallas’ offense has absolutely dominated the weaker competition by scoring 97 points in three games.
Granted, Dallas’ defense is missing defensive linemen Antwaun Woods (sprained MCL), Tyrone Crawford (hip injury), and safety Xavier Woods (high ankle sprain). However, those guys played against the Giants and Redskins, so no excuses. Once again, Dallas is supposed to completely destroy lesser opponents!
In Dallas’ next five games, their defense will face quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, Luke Falk/Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, and Daniel Jones. A few of those quarterbacks are way better than what Dallas’ defense has faced, so the defense needs to improve quickly.
Contributor Daniel Ruppert wrote an article explaining Dallas’ defense slow start and how rusty it’s performing.
It’s a good read on why Dallas’ defense is operating in neutral, but Dallas’ defense better shake off the rust because the Grinch from Green Bay will be visiting At&T Stadium in 11 days and Aaron Rodgers has proven to be this defense’s nemesis. So this defense better step it up before its too late.
- Published on 09/26/2019 at 12:00 PM
- Last updated at 09/26/2019 at 06:57 AM