Dallas Cowboys injuries and depth issues are becoming an issue

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys have been an enigma for many years. They feel like they are both on the cusp of contending to be one of the best teams, as well as on the cusp for being one of the most disappointing teams.

Why is that? Why does it seem like just as the Cowboys get things rolling, everything seems to fall apart? Well, it’s as easy as two simple words:

  1. Roster.
  2. Management.

Roster management is a very important part of building a championship-caliber team. This is an area the Dallas Cowboys have struggled with in recent years. The Cowboys have plenty of stars on their roster, but very questionable depth. This has been made all the more clear after their recent bite by the injury bug.

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Since Week 7, the Dallas Cowboys have lost:

  • Starting CB, Anthony Brown (IR)
  • Starting NCB, Jourdan Lewis (IR)
  • Starting MLB, Leighton Vander Esch (OUT)
  • Backup ED, Sam Williams (OUT)

After losing Lewis and Brown, the Dallas Cowboys played their two worst defensive games of the year, according to Football Outsiders’ Single-Game DVOA Ratings. Over the two weeks following Lewis and Brown going on the IR Dallas’ defensive DVOA ratings were 12.% and 24.7%. In fact, the Cowboys had their worst defensive pass DVOA rating (71.6%) the week after losing Brown. This is also reflected in their coverage grade of 55.6 from PFF.

This trend continued after losing Vander Esch. The Cowboys middle linebacker played just five snaps last week before exiting the game with a neck stinger. Dallas would go on to have their worst defensive game against the run all season. They had a 23.2% Defense Rush DVOA and a Run defense grade of 58.8. They allowed the Jaguars to run for 192 yards, the third most rushing yards they’ve allowed all season.

After week 7, the Dallas Cowboys had the second-highest Defensive DVOA in the NFL, -21.3. Since then that number has dropped nearly ten points down to -13.9. The losses of such key contributors as Brown, Lewis, and Vander Esch have taken their toll.

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This has put Dallas’ lack of depth on defense front and center. This is an area Dallas’ front office must fix if they want to become a true Super Bowl contender.