The Dallas Cowboys defense is setting all the wrong records

Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys, and teammates Xavier Woods #25 and Byron Jones #31 (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys, and teammates Xavier Woods #25 and Byron Jones #31 (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys defense is so bad that it’s on path to be the worst one in franchise history.

After so much hype entering the 2020 NFL season, this Dallas Cowboys football team has started off as one of its worse in franchise history. In fact, the Cowboys defense is so horrific that the last time the Cowboys gave up 38 plus points in three straight games, it was during their inaugural season in 1960.

In 1960, the Cowboys went 0-11, and if not for the Cowboys recovering a miracle onside kick against the unlucky Atlanta Falcons, the Cowboys would be 0-4 and fighting an uphill battle to win the most terrible division in football.

Can you imagine if the Cowboys were 0-4? No! My goodness!

The Cowboys defense is playing worse than the lackluster defensive team from 2013. That defense defense set all types of franchise records for the wrong reasons. That defense was so bad that the Cowboys allowed the New Orleans Saints to record 40 first downs in a Monday Night Football debacle.

if you think about it, Dak’s not the top passing QB in the NFL, it’s whoever is playing the Cowboys that’s top dog.

In 2013, the Dallas defense ranked 26th in league, gave up 27.0 points a game, and allowed a whooping 432 points that season. Through four games, Dallas’ defense is ranked dead last in the league, is allowing 36.5 points a game, and already has given up 146 points! Wow!

To make matters worse, Dallas’ defense has already allowed 1,772 yards this season. It’s only being four games, friends. For perspective, The NFL’s top passing QB, Dak Prescott, has passed for 1,690 yards. So if you think about it, Dak’s not the top passing QB in the NFL, it’s whoever is playing the Cowboys that’s top dog.

In Dallas’ last three games, Dallas’ defense has surrendered 39, 38, and 49 points to the woeful Falcons, the undefeated Seattle Seahawks, and the surprising Cleveland Browns. Dallas’ defense was so pathetic against the Browns that Baker Mayfield truly looked like a Super Bowl winning quarterback as he completed pass after pass against Dallas’ anemic pass rush and invisible secondary.

After a having a top-10 defense in 2018 and an average D in 2019, people want to know what’s the primary reason(s) for Dallas’ poorly  functioning defense? There is no easy answer, but the primary reasons are a lack of effort, a complicated scheme, no preseason/OTA’s, and injuries.

See, I’m not going to take the easy way out and simply say its a lack of talent when the majority of the players were here last season. Sure, Dallas’ overall defense needs improvement, but playing 10 yards off the receiver when it’s third and six screams scheme or flat out ignorance on the defensive back.

Or as in the case with cornerback Daryl Worley, he blitzed from his corner position and allowed Kareem Hunt to run right by him. Had Worley just paid attention, Worley would’ve tackled Hunt for a huge loss in the backfield. Instead, Hunt ran for about 20 yards and a first down.

That’s what I call a lack of effort and poor awareness. And guess what, the Browns scored on that drive, too. You can’t coach effort, but it starts at the top with head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan because the players take on the personality of their coaches. Period.

According to former NFL players like ESPN’s Marcus Spears and Keyshawn Johnson, the defensive struggles are a direct result of Nolan’s complicated defense. Spears and Johnson explained that’s why the defensive players, particularly linebacker Jaylon Smith, look lost and out of place. Basically, both former NFL studs said that Nolan needs to simplify his scheme to get better results.

A lack of preseason practices combined with a complicated scheme is going to produce disastrous results, especially if it lacks talent to begin with.

Speaking of talent, Dallas’ front office of Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones had the bright idea to let their best corner, Byron Jones, walk in free agency. Instead of paying Jones his well deserved money as a top-notch corner, the elder Jones decided they could make do with their inconsistent secondary.

To put this in perspective, Jones easily shut down opposing team’s best wide receivers. Jones was the closest to a shut down corner you can get on any team. Please, I don’t want to hear anything about Jones’ lack of interceptions. He cancelled out his man and teams were afraid to target him. That’s what a real CB1 is.

Sure, it would have been a bonus if Jones had a bunch of interceptions under his belt, but the fact that Jones could shut down the likes of a Julio Jones and other elite receivers across the league was a gift this defense sorely misses.

And why opposing receivers like Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, Tyler Lockett, and D.K. Metcalf have had their way with Dallas’ weak secondary – because Jones isn’t there to cancel out half the field. Also, Dallas’ secondary misses the steady play of Jeff Heath at the safety position.

I never thought Dallas would miss Heath playing safety, but Heath is way better than the recently benched Darian Thompson and could at least make an interception when you least expect it. And it doesn’t help that strong safety Xavier Woods is struggling, too.

Injuries to Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown has crippled the secondary, along with the injuries to linebacking corps of Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee. The latter has wrecked more havoc on the defense because Smith looks lost without LVE and Lee by his side.

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When they return from IR, hopefully this defense will play better. 

All of the blame doesn’t sit with the defense, however. Dak and Ezekiel Elliott have to stop turning the ball over deep in their own territory, giving a weak defense a short field to defend. Dallas’ offense has an NFL-worst nine turnovers that have turned into 49 points this season. On the other hand, Dallas’ defense has given up 20 plays of 20 yards or more. Yikes!

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Maybe if Dallas’ offense doesn’t turn over the ball nine times, then Dallas’ defense would have allowed only 103 points through four games and would be sitting at 3-1 or maybe 4-0 instead.

Regardless, Dallas’ defense is worse than the one from 2013 and we know how that season ended.

  • Published on 10/08/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 10/08/2020 at 08:21 AM