From 1986 until 1999, Charles Haley was one of the greatest defensive players in the NFL. As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Haley was a large part of the legendary franchise’s three Super Bowl victories in the early 90’s. He was also a five-time Pro Bowler, a member of the 100 sack club and the newest inductee in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
But when it comes to the current state of his former team, Haley doesn’t think defense is what’s needed in Dallas right now. As he told KETK sports reporter Phil Kuchinsky over the weekend at a charity basketball game in Longview, TX, the problem in Big “D” is on the other side of the ball.
“You know what, we need a better offense. And not worry about the defense. Because if we put some points up on the board, then teams gonna to have to just throw the ball. And what we’ve been lacking is the teams can run and throw. When you make them one-dimensional then you can defeat them better.”
According to ESPN.com, Dallas finished 16th in net total offensive yards in 2013. They were also 14th in total passing yards, 24th in total rushing yards and 5th in scoring.
As for the Cowboys defense, everyone and their mother knows they ranked dead last in the NFL in 2013. They also ranked 30th in passing yards allowed and 27th in rushing. The worst defense in franchise history allowed their opponents to average an astonishing 415.3 offensive yards per game last season.
Still, don’t quickly dismiss Haley’s comment as not having any merit. The 2011 New York Giants won a Super Bowl despite their defense ranking a lowly 26th during the regular season. During the Indianapolis Colts championship run in 2006, their regular season defense ranked just 21st. And even with the Bountygate Scandal, the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl defense only ranked 25th in 2009.
Although many teams have won Super Bowl championships by dominating one particular aspect of the game, most believe a healthy balance of offense, defense and special teams is required in order to do so. But their have been cases where one side of the ball is so overwhelmingly great, it carries the entire club to victory.
But that’s mainly been on defense. The 1986 Chicago Bears, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers immediately come to mind. In fact, between 1999-2009, 73% (8) of those 11 Super Bowl winners had a top-10 ranked defense. Only 36% (4) of those championship franchises had a top-10 offense. And only two of those teams had both. (1999 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New England Patriots)
Despite these facts, I think most Cowboys fans would disagree with Mr. Haley. For the most part, the Dallas offense did their job last season scoring an average of 27.4 points per game. That should have been enough to beat a majority of the teams in the NFL. Unfortunately, the Cowboys defense also allowed an average of 27 points per game to their opponents. If Dallas can find a solution to their defensive woes in 2014, this could be a very exciting year for all Cowboys fans.