I have heard some talk, in both the media and comment sections of various sites that since the New England Patriots and the New York Giants are playing in the Super Bowl, defense no longer matters in the NFL and it is now who can score the most points per game. So wouldn’t that mean that the Dallas Cowboys should have made it to the play-offs with the 7th overall passing game? We put up 262.6 yards passing per game, only 33.3 yards less that the Giants and 55.2 less that the Patriots. And because defense doesn’t matter the Patriots beat the Giants during the regular season…oh that’s right, the Patriots lost to the Giants in the regular season. This same Patriots team also lost to the Steelers and the Buffalo Bills. Side note: The Pittsburgh Steelers had the first ranked pass defense and tenth ranked offense.
Let’s go back to the first game of the Cowboys season for a second, where we see a loss to the New York Jets twenty first ranked pass offense and twenty second ranked rushing offense. Which mattered more: Romo’s fumble and interception, or the fact that we couldn’t stop Mark Sanchez from connecting with Plaxico Burress? Take into account we had the Jets pinned at their own 15 yard line and didn’t hold them to a 3rd down play until they were at the Dallas 26 yard line. If we had a defense worth their salt we would have won that game, changed our entire season and the seasons of many other teams (including the New York Giants). But we didn’t and sadly our Cowboys were scheduling tee times instead of practice times.
I’ll skip the Detroit Lions game for obvious reasons, but how about our week six match up against the AFC Champion Patriots? The Cowboys were winning heading into the 4th quarter, but once again the Cowboys defense failed to hold Tom Brady to much more than a 3rd and 1. Three plays after that 3rd and 1, we were watching Aaron Hernandez throw imaginary dollar bills into the air from the end zone. Again, another situation where a good defense could come in handy, don’t you think? Keep looking at our loss column and you will see the same thing over and over again.
Cardinals game: Couldn’t stop the mighty Kevin Kolb from hooking up with Stephens-Howling for a 52 yard scamper to win the game.
Both Eagles games: Our defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed.
Both Giants games: Our defense looked like they made a wrong turn heading to the Texas Rangers game.
All 8 of our losses can be credited, in many ways, to the lack of play by our defense. When Romo messes up, we should be feeling confident in our defense making a stop, not holding our breath and betting on the over/under for how long it takes them to score.
Defense is just as important now as it was fifty years ago. Heck, even the best offense in the league can have a bad day. Look at Green Bay. I thought they were Super Bowl bound the very second Aaron Rogers put up 61 points in one of my fantasy leagues. But wouldn’t you know it, the Giant’s defense held the great Aaron Rogers to only two touchdowns. Meanwhile the Packer’s Defense that was so good last year, gave Eli the opportunity to throw for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Putting defense on the back burner this draft could make for another painful season next year. Like I said in my last article, I like DeCastro, from Stanford not USC, but I would feel very disappointed if we were to draft him with our fourteenth pick. If we don’t address the needs of our twenty third ranked pass defense then the Cowboys are in trouble.
Now, if the Cowboys did draft DeCastro and then made some big free agent pick ups I would feel a little more comfortable. But the 2011 Cowboys were interested in getting younger so I don’t see them pulling a 180 and spending what little cap space we have left on a big name free agents. During the Jerry Jones era of the Dallas Cowboys we have seen two types of teams: the Troy Aikmen led winners and the interchangeable Quarterback black hole led by Ryan Leaf and Quincy Carter. I don’t want to be known through out the league as winning one playoff game in 15 years anymore. I want our doomsday defense back. I saw enough offense at Texas Tech during the Mike Leach era to know that however good your offense is you can still lose without a good defense. I know that drafting a DB could be boom or bust, and I know DeCastro could be Pro Bowl material, but we would be picking him just to pick him, or for the “safe play”. Research who our last ‘safe’ draft picks are and you’ll find Barbie…I mean Bobby Carpenter, the slow starting Anthony Spencer, the highly touted yet highly mediocre Felix Jones, and Mike Jenkins. Even if we go with Quinton Couples, like the mock draft 2.0 projects, I would be happy. And at this point, I don’t care who we draft as long as they play defense.
Defense still matters. Go Cows.
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