Dallas Cowboys: 2 Things they need to improve

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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dallas cowboys
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys defense is really good, but it is not elite yet!

The Dallas Cowboys defense is leading the league in sacks, second in points allowed, and forcing turnovers along the way. Dallas’ defense has a few “elite” players on their defense, but the defense as a whole is winning because everyone’s good and there are no clear weaknesses.

But they still have some improvements to make to reach that ultimate “elite” status.

Dallas’ most glaring weakness was its inability to stop the run, and the front office fixed it by trading for run-stopper Johnathan Hankins from the Raiders. The former 2013 second-round pick of the New York Giants is a massive 6’3, 340-pound defensive tackle, a miniature polar bear that will pay dividends to stopping the run. My Gawd!

Even with the acquisition of Hankins (and I believe he will improve the run defense), Dallas’ defense still must answer the bell when it comes to big plays and allowing long play drives. The most recent example was the game against the Cincinnati Bengals when Dallas’ defense allowed an 11-play drive and a crucial 19-play drive that resulted with a touchdown.

People, that 19-play drive consisted of eight minutes and 54 seconds. That is equivalent to the length of halftime at a football game. Dallas’ defense allowed an 8,10, and 12-play drives against the Lions.

Therefore, it was only fitting for the defense to make game-changing plays (the end zone fumble) to keep the Lions from scoring because it is the defense that put the team in a vulnerable position in the first place. The goal is to keep the opposing team from scoring, so job well done, defense. But giving up big runs, long passes because of soft coverage, and any other self-inflicted penalty does not say elite. A work in progress with potential to get better.

In conclusion,

The Dallas Cowboys sit 5-2 and are entering the perceived “favorable” part of their schedule. This is the NFL where no games are easy, just ask Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots after their humbling defeat to the Chicago Bears. Translation: no game is an automatic win.

Ironically, the Bears face Dallas on Sunday and will challenge Dallas in all areas of concern on both sides of the ball. Firstly, the Bears have a legitimate running game combined with a mobile quarterback in Justin Fields, and the Bears ran the ball 45 times for 243 yards against the Patriots. Secondly, their defense ranks 7th and is stingy.

To be clear, I predict Dallas to beat the Bears in convincing fashion and yield their running game.

Now that Dak has returned, and Dallas has traded for Hankins, the scoring will increase and defense will improve.  Despite the Bears record, it is a good litmus test for a rejuvenated Dallas team.

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Remember, for the first time in forever, the NFC is wide open and it’s going to come down to the team that executes the best and play mistake-free football with their overall talent. The Dallas Cowboys have the talent to be labeled “good”, but the goal is to become better because being better leads to being elite.

And that is truly what separates contenders from Super Bowl champions!