The Dallas Cowboys defense has been outstanding for the season’s first four weeks. The pass rush is getting home…a lot. The secondary has been playing well, and as we sit here, the Cowboys have one of the most feared defenses in the league.
However, one part of the defense still needs some work: The run defense. To this point in the season, the Dallas Cowboys have allowed some of the most yards on the ground. Part of it is how good the pass defense has been, but even considering that, the run defense clearly needs some work.
This isn’t to say this is a bad defense, far from it actually, but teams do start adjusting, and as the season wears on, weaknesses starts getting exploited. The Dallas Cowboys have the players needed to be better at run defense. While they don’t have to be top five in the category, they do need to get a little better.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has been great, if they can work on the run defense, they can be amazing.
While everyone is talking about how great the pass rush has been, and it has, allowing the 27th best run defense is something teams will be looking at. Now, getting Dak Prescott back will help the offense build leads, which should put teams into more of a passing attack, playing right into their hands. But teams will look to keep Dak and company off the field by running the ball. This is where Dan Quinn will need to adjust.
If the Cowboys are going to focus on getting better against the run, it is going to have to start up front. While the Cowboys don’t quite have a 1-technique that is a game changer in the middle against the run, some simple moves can help improve it.
The first step is to have the defensive tackles on the roster hold their gaps a little better on run plays. The hard part for Quinn will be finding the balance of the push up the middle and knowing when to hold ground.
If Quinn can get the tackles to hold the point of attack and not over-pursue while collapsing the pocket, it will allow the linebackers to fill their gaps better. What we have seen from some of the linebackers we have seen some over-pursuing into the gaps and trying to guess instead of allowing the runner to come to them. This includes the safeties, Donovan Wilson and Jayron Kearse mainly, to help fill an extra gap giving the linebackers more flexibility.
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The Cowboys are still dominating on the defensive side of the ball, make no mistake about it. But if this team wants to be one of the best defenses of all time, it will have to get better at stopping the run. Dan Quinn has some time to get it together. Looking at how he has done at the pass defense, he could just do it, sooner or later.