Like Shakira’s hips, the numbers don’t lie. The Dallas Cowboys defense should get better according to the numbers based on points per game. Let’s face it, points win or lose games. You can have a 300 yard rusher along with 100 yard rusher and still lose a football game; but if your defense allows too many points on the board. Yards don’t make a victory, they make a game, but not a win.
According to NFL.com stats, in 2009 the Cowboys allowed 15.6 points per game placing them in the top ten. That same year, which happened to be Rob Ryan’s first season in Cleveland, where they had 23.4 points per game and at the bottom of the NFL list for points. In 2010, the Cowboys had a dismal 27.2 points per game. The Browns had an improved 19.2, one full year after Ryan had time to implement his system and the players had the time to learn it. Cleveland had another 19.2 points per game average in 2011, using the same players but different scheme. The Cowboys had a 21.7 points per game average in 2011 and that was with no OTA’s and very little training camp.
Now that Ryan is getting all of the OTA’s and a full training camp in to implement his system plus the fact that many of the veterans are one year into it; what he puts in that is new will not be such a task to learn.
Will the Cowboys revert back to those “Doomsday Defense” glory days? That would be great but the Cowboys would have to be the top ranking team to even be close to fans embracing the return of “Doomsday.”
As I pointed out, points will win the games. Something the movie “Moneyball” pointed out and proved to the world of baseball. The Cowboys defense was good in ’09 but saw some pretty gruesome numbers in ’10. Last year was an improvement with very little study time. I am predicting that the Cowboys should hold their opponents to respectful 18.3 based on the numbers between Cleveland’s numbers one year after Ryan’s defense was implemented and took it down a few more points because I believe that the Cowboys have more talent than the ’10 Browns.
Key additions are pretty obvious, getting Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr to start at CB is going to be vital. Claiborne is going to struggle at first but after he figures things out, watch out as he will be something special to watch. Carr is the perfect mentor and tutor plus he has enough in the tank to be a force for a few more years.
The LB corp is solid with Demarcus Ware leading the pack along with veteran Sean Lee in place to guide the youngsters. Anthony Spencer will hopefully cash in on a big year and Bruce Carter, who is tagged as the MLB needs to be able to show the kind of leadership Sean Lee has at that position. Lee is tagged currently at Outside Linebacker position.
The defensive line should be good with a possible question mark at the LE position. Jason Hatcher should be better as he is time to get accustomed to the defensive scheme. NFL.com stats had him listed as having 28 tackles compared to Jay Ratliff and Kenyon Coleman, who both averaged 37 tackles between the two of them. Ratliff and Coleman are going to be the keys to the line this year.
The biggest concern will be the safeties. Gerald Sensabaugh will be good, but the other side is going to be a question mark. According to the Scout’s Notebook on the dallascowboys.com website, they tried Mario Butler at safety. Butler is in his second season, out of Georgia Tech. I would suggest telling Orlando Scandrick to get busy learning the safety position or put him on the trade block. We need a good safety and I would think if Scandrick would learn the position, he could excel.
We shall see as more of the Cowboys training camp continues and we inch closer to that Wednesday night showdown with the New York Giants in September.