The Dallas Cowboys have had a history over the last few season of struggling with the 3-4 defense. While Dallas runs a 3-4 defense themselves, it would make sense that since they see the 3-4 defense in practices they would succeed better against that type of defense. This isn’t the case and here is why.
A team that runs a 3-4 defense has the ability to run a variety of blitz packages and a variety of plays. Sometimes if a team runs an efficient 3-4 defense they can cloak their blitz package and confuse the offense. Dallas has had a weak offensive line and with the cutting of veteran players to save on cap room and the new youth movement it comes down to a simple fact that the offensive line’s youth and naiveté of not playing a lot of NFL games struggles to pick up the different blitz packages other teams create while running this type of defense. They fail to see where the potential 4thblitzer comes from, whether it be a safety or cornerback blitz. The other problem is the running backs don’t seem to pick up the blitzes to help aid the offensive line which is important as well.
But you think,Dallas sees a 3-4 defense in practices. Well yes they do, however, the rule changes have changed how much they can do full contact practices and this will impact to a point the ability to feel comfortable with that particular defense. It could also come down to quite simply how the Cowboys run their 3-4 defense as opposed to other teams.
The offensive line of Dallas has always been questionable especially with the amount of sacks, Tony Romo has gotten. This goes hand in hand with the struggles they have faced against 3-4 defenses. Now that Dallas has a new offensive line coach in Bill Callahan, who has a history of building successful offensive lines starting with the Eagles in the mid 1990’s and continuing into Oakland and finally the Jets, his offensive lines have always been known as mobile, active and running lots of sweeps and traps. I think Callahan was as important a pick up as any of the draft picks and free agents. Hopefully, with Callahan now in charge and his history,Dallas will not continue to struggle against 3-4 defenses.