It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to find out what’s up with second-year veteran linebacker Kyle Wilber.
To make matters worse, or better, depending on how you look at it, linebacker Bruce Carter will also sit out the game as Dallas’ top two players at the position continue to suffer from injuries during their young careers.
On top of everything, the Cowboys are coming off of yet another dismal performance on the road during prime time having been hammered by the Bears in Chicago on Monday night.
In the wake of that loss, owner and general manager Jerry Jones told the media that he wanted to see more risk-taking from the Cowboys on defense. Jones, whether it be digging a hole for oil or offering millions of dollars to football players, can tell you all about the concept of risk-reward.
Jones is probably right about this because there’s really no other option. Injuries continue to hammer the Dallas defense like holiday shoppers at the front doors of a department store at 12:01am on Black Friday.
Remember that Wilber was an outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment which was discarded during the offseason. He was then moved to defensive end as injuries began changing things as early as the very first practice at training camp last summer. Now he’s back at linebacker because—well, because nobody’s healthy at this point. That includes Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who’s clearly running at about 80-percent of his normal abilities.
Seems to me that with linebackers Justin Durant, who’s also had his share of injuries this year, and Ernie Sims expected to contribute significantly against the Packers, Dallas needs something big to happen.
Wilber is easily the best pass-rusher of all Dallas linebackers now that the 4-3 alignment is in place—and struggling mightily.
The Cowboys cannot get good pressure with only four linemen in pursuit of the quarterback. Changing this crippling weakness is an absolute necessity if Dallas has any realistic shot of making the postseason, a goal that’s still within reach but obviously fading fast.
Job security has been at least a warm topic this week where first-year Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is concerned. It has even been asked whether he’s considered stepping down and allowing defensive line coach and good friend Rod Marinelli to take over the worst defense in the history of the Cowboys. To this, Kiffin gave the following comments to the Dallas Morning News earlier this week:
Not really. I don’t think so. Hadn’t really thought about that. I would say that would be kind of like a player, ‘Let’s throw in the towel.’ Like telling your players, ‘Don’t play that hard anymore. Let’s give it up.’ It ain’t happening.
Good enough, although the leading words “Not really” are a bit curious to me.