After Further Review – Defense Edition – How much is really good this Cowboys Defense ?

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With the attention of all fans and media turned, for obvious reasons, almost exclusively to Cowboys Offense, we take advantage of this section to turn our attention to the defensive department. On summer, between Draft and Free Agency, several attentions have been addressed to this Unit that we hoped would become a strength of the team. Now, leaving apart the fact of how we have often had to play catch up, and how the offense has almost never been able to sustain long drives, let us ask ourselves the question: how much is really good this Cowboys defense ?

Numbers tells us that, in most statistics, the Cowboys defense is half of the group, NFL average. 15th for points against, 16th against the pass, 15th for running yards per game, 12th on explosives plays, 11th on third downs, 8th for yards allowed per game. But one of these statistics, the most important, the points against, see the unit collapsing on 27th place only if you take in consideration the points aginst in the 4th quarters.

However, we all, remember that this summer two particular points were emphasized as crucial for the Defense: increase the pressure on the QB, and then the sacks, maintain, and possibly improve, the takeaway number from 2014. And here is the painful aspect. After 11 games the Cowboys are in 32nd place in takeaways, with 7. In sacks Marinelli’s boys are 25th, with 20 sacks.

Now, we have seen in the past really bad Defenses, but also really good Defenses, and this in particular would also place in the middle were if not for the ridiculous number of takeaways. For a team that has had, and will have, to play without their starting QB, would need a defense that not only could keep them in the game, but that was able to win some of these games. The Cowboys’ defense in 2015 has never been able to do, and that’s a fact.

Thursday game is difficult to analyze from a defensive point, they suffered greatly because of the errors of an offense that has dug an early hole that the Panthers didn’t lost time to fill. Where the defense has definitely contributed to this loss, was the third and long situations, giving away some decisive gains that have kept the drives alive that otherwise could gave advantageous field positions.

Other numbers would also be acceptable, 1 TD and within 300 yds of total offense, but 8 3rd down converted on 16, no takeaways (7th game of the year) and only 1 sack, are numbers that certainly don’t win games.

Wanting to start thinking about the future, this is a department that needs a deep reflection by the front office, starting from our Free Agents: Claiborne, Hardy, Rolando McClain, Mincey, Wilber and Jack Crawford. It’s also important that Marinelli understand what really wants this defense will be, after playing so much zone, became a man defense, then shuffle the cards again with mixed results. Of course absences must be put on account: Scandrick for the year, Lee, Hardy, McClain and Gregory for part of the season.

With five games still to play, this unit needs to find an identity and figure out who they can count on next year, are now several years that this team doesn’t have a defense that win games, and now is the time to try to build it after devoting so much time to put together an offense suitable for Romo. The Front Office will certainly devote resources to both sides of the ball, but the defense needs an extra eye, beginning its assessments in these last few games, which must never be useless, at least from this point of view.

 

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