Now that the dreaded off-season is in full swing, we in Cowboysland have a plethora of time on our hands to ponder what Dallas should do to improve its chances of making a serious Super Bowl run. Analyzing on paper, of course, with no salary cap repercussions or limitations as to where the ‘Boys pick in the draft, is easy. If we had to crunch the numbers and make real personnel and coaching decisions, life would definitely not be as rosy as it is sitting in the proverbial armchair quarterback position. Nonetheless, from yours truly’s perspective, it seems that the obvious obstacle to the Cowboys success lies on the defensive side of the football.
When I say “defensive,” I’m not narrowing anything down. There was really nothing about the Cowboys defense in the 2013 season that warrants repeating except the turnover margin, which didn’t translate to much of a difference maker. Unfortunately, that opinion is apparently not shared by either our illustrious owner or carrot-topped head coach because Monte Kiffin still resides at a Dallas address. By all accounts, Kiffin seems to be a nice guy, but we all know what they say about “nice guys” and that old saying certainly rang true in Big D this past season.
Yes, I know the title Kiffin holds in the Cowboys coaching pecking order has changed from defensive coordinator to assistant head coach/defense. While that is widely being viewed as a demotion, any title that include “head coach” in it doesn’t sound like a step down to me.
The Cowboys were at the bottom of the barrel in just about every stat imaginable in 2013 and that, folks, is down right embarrassing considering the great defenses that Dallas has laid claim to in its storied past.
What started this yellow snowball rolling downhill at a breakneck pace was the firing of Rob Ryan. Those of you who have read my weekly ramblings before know my strong dislike for Ryan’s father, Buddy. However, in light of the performance of the New Orleans Saints defense since his arrival, it is pretty plain to see that it was a big mistake to make a scapegoat of him for the disappointment that was the 2012 season. This is especially true when the injury problems the Cowboys suffered in that season are taken into consideration. Son of Buddy has got to be laughing all the way down Bourbon Street after the way his former team performed since his exit. Who could blame him?
The powers that be in Big D have reportedly placed a large portion of the blame for Dallas’ abysmal defensive year on personnel rather than coaching. That, my friends, can only be taken so far. The Cowboys often looked ill prepared and confused in critical situations in 2013. The secondary, which has been a problem for a few years now, continued to struggle and Dallas was unable to consistently put pressure on quarterbacks, often making backups look like pro bowlers.
If Dallas is ever going to get back to prominence in the NFL, there have to be major adjustments on the defensive side of the ball, whether it be a change in scheme, coaching moves, being more aggressive in free agency, or drafting smarter (please, no more tight ends). If the newly promoted defensive coordinator doesn’t work out any better than his predecessor, we are in for many more disappointing days in Dallas.