Dallas Cowboys: 5 Most concerning positions heading into 2020

Anthony Brown #30 of Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Anthony Brown #30 of Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys’ Concern No. 3: LB

With the rise of the Run-Pass Option (RPO) and the Dallas Cowboys made a concentrated effort into updating their defense in order to stay up with and ahead of the NFL’s rising trends. Since then, teams have learned that pre-snap motion, spread looks, and personnel mismatches are key to winning each down. It forces defenders out of their comfort zones and targets their weaknesses.

That’s why the Dallas Cowboys pushed their resources into the linebacker position. Long and athletic linebackers allow them to close passing windows and stand up against the run equally.

Just because the offensive personnel looks like they are going to do one thing does not mean that’s the actual intention. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. That’s why Dallas invested in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Their superior size and athleticism meant they were just as effective on passing plays as they were on running plays. They could stand up to the challenges of the RPO and are players who stay on the field whether the offense is in 11 personnel or in jumbo.

Given the investment Dallas has made in this mentality, it should be no secret the defense faded last season without Jaylon or LVE playing like they did in 2018. Once again the Dallas Cowboys enter the season on the backs of their all-important linebackers: Van Jaylon. Will they be the rock stars from 2018 or will they be the disappointments of 2019?

The answer to that will probably run parallel to the defense’s success as a whole.