Cowboys Debate: Is it the Defensive Players or the System?

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Dec 9, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cowboy Fans Endure Cold. Left to Right: Catouche Body (Jackson, MS), Kyle Knudson (Dallas, TX), Robert Carroll (Jacksonville, FL), Vladimir Peleshak (Salt Lake City, UT), Michael Black (Atlanta, GA) & Henry Adamson (Paterson, NJ). Mandatory Credit: Game DayDog

Dec 9, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cowboy Fans Endure Cold. Left to Right: Catouche Body (Jackson, MS), Kyle Knudson (Dallas, TX), Robert Carroll (Jacksonville, FL), Vladimir Peleshak (Salt Lake City, UT), Michael Black (Atlanta, GA) & Henry Adamson (Paterson, NJ). Mandatory Credit: Game DayDog

Another problem is team chemistry, the defense hasn’t been playing together long. Take a look at Seattle’s secondary compared to Dallas’ secondary.

Player Name

Games Played

Years with Team


Player Name

Games Played

Years with Team

Richard Sherman



Left Cornerback

Brandon Carr



Byron Maxwell



Right Cornerback

Orlando Scandrick



Kam Chancellor



Strong Safety

Jeff Heath



Earl Thomas



Free Safety

Barry Church



Jeff Heath’s backup is J.J. Wilcox, another rookie and Orlando Scandrick spent the majority of his career here as a nickel corner. Scandrick replaced Morris Claiborne as starting right cornerback this season.

There’s also coaching. This is the Cowboys first year under Monte Kiffin and the Seahawks first year under Dan Quinn. Dan Quinn replaced “Gus” Bradley, but Quinn was familiar with the defensive system, having been assistant head coach / defensive line coach in 2009. In 2010, he was strictly the defensive line coach of the Seahawks.

The Seahawks defense grew to be better as they played together. Like offensive linemen, there’s a familiarity that comes with playing together. The key phrase is – Defensive Unit. Our secondary needs to see the same thing and that comes with time. With that said, I’d like to see them grow together under the guidance of a different coach that believes in engaging receivers at the line of scrimmage.


Yards Allowed


Points Allowed

















I won’t throw in the towel prematurely, ever. The Cowboys have won seven games with their defensive personnel. It doesn’t make sense to jump off the bandwagon because a pundit claims, “Cowboys can’t win any games with this defense.”

Cowboys. Bears. Two teams both with records of 7 – 6. Both teams need to win their division to reach the playoffs. Yet, one team seems optimistic, the other is in panic mode. That’s what a win will do for you. Maybe next time, I can mention how intelligent the Bears fans are, how expensive hot chocolate is in Soldier Field and why I’d be obese if I lived near a Giordano’s deep dish pizza restaurant.

We have three weeks remaining in the regular season. The Cowboys haven’t been eliminated from the playoffs, we own the tie breaker with the division leader and we have three games at home. Yes, at home – because we own Fed Ex field. How loud can Washington fans be when they’re cheering with paper bags over their heads?

One game at a time. Let’s beat the Packers and chant – No Pack No!


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  • SmartThinking

    You won’t throw in the towel prematurely? Why not? The Cowboys did Monday night.

    According to your premise, this debate requires an either/or answer. My position is it’s both.

    This defensive team cannot physically compete against even middle level teams in this league with the players it has currently on its roster. To complicate matters even worse, these same defensive players are out-performed by their opponents because the defensive scheme they play in is old, outmoded, doesn’t fit our personnel, and has been out-coached by nearly every team in the league for years now.

    That’s the long and short of it. And it won’t change until the entire coaching staff is removed AND this team replaces nearly every player on their defensive roster with bigger, faster, taller, younger, more athletic, smarter players who have the will to win coached into them from the first day they join this team.

    • jayhwk01

      The scheme works fine. Dallas does not have the horses to pull it off. But neither the scheme, the players, or the coaches address the real problem and that is Jerry Jones. As long as he continues to be GM, Draft tyrant, and owner Dallas will be a 8-8 9-7 team regardless of talent or coaching.

    • Robert H. Carroll

      When the Bears seemingly put the game out of reach. I don’t think the Cowboys quit when they continued to run the ball. I felt they were treating it like a live scrimmage at that point and were running the ball to get game film to perfect running plays this season. If the Cowboys and Bears both win their divisions, it’s possible to meet in the playoffs and that game film will be important. Analyzing film will make the rushing offense better. Don’t be surprised if we run a lot, especially in Washington.

      Removing the entire coaching staff seems to be a bit extreme. Drafting talent is a hit or miss process. How much younger do you want our secondary? We have 2 rookies, Carr & Scandrick.

  • Earl Robertson

    Heath and Webb is one of the main reason the defense sucks so bad. So what coach or owner is letting those 2 on the field it is their fault