Dallas Cowboys: Dan Quinn has decisions to make and work to do

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys struggled in many different ways against the Denver Broncos, but there was one glaring issue in this game that was not really evident in prior weeks.

With injuries to Brent Urban, Neville Gallimore, DeMarcus Lawrence, and a lingering ankle for Dorance Armstrong, the Broncos were able to run on the Cowboys, and get explosive plays that the Cowboys have not given up against the run.

A huge part of the run defense problem were the edges not being set. The Broncos saw it and ran right at them.

Dan Quinn has work to do on the Dallas Cowboys defense

Going forward, at least until the injured players return, the Cowboys have to find ways to stop the run. When the defensive line can’t hold their gaps, and the edges aren’t set, it becomes harder for the linebackers and secondary to fill the gap and make plays.

This leads to explosive plays at a high frequency – something we had not really seen up until this game. However, this is not the only issue and the decision to focus on the run could impact the pass rush.

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Should Dan Quinn decide to focus on stopping the run, it could impact the pass rush. The Cowboys are an opportunistic defense looking for takeaways, and to force bad throws, pressure increases the odds.

Without DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory is the most consistent pass rusher on the defensive line. To help, the Cowboys have started using Micah Parsons to augment the pass rush, However, deciding to stop the run could force a decision to not rush Parsons. Decisions, decisions…

In the secondary, the Cowboys have flipped between a two-deep safety look and a single-high safety look. Against Denver, it looked like a touch more zone than previous weeks, and Denver took advantage of it. Dan Quinn will need to start disguising the scheme a little better which could help the front seven. Again, decisions, decisions.

We can talk scheme, but one of the biggest technique issues we saw this last game was tackling problems. As the Broncos were breaking tackles, there were a ton of extra yards as the Cowboys were trying to strip the ball instead of taking down the ball carrier. None of the scheme changes matter if the Cowboys can’t tackle.

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While it was only one game, there has been some work needed on defense to get more consistent. The pass rush has been a little up and down and the run defense has been a little shaky. As long as the Cowboys can get back to creating turnovers and the offense can get back in rhythm it will help go a long way, but for a push to January the Cowboys need to work on the defense and the Denver game should hopefully be the wake up they needed.

  • Published on 11/09/2021 at 12:04 PM
  • Last updated at 11/09/2021 at 12:04 PM