Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco 49ers former player Charles Haley attends the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Haley: ‘Cowboys Need Better Offense, Not Defense’


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.

Next Cowboys Game View full schedule »
Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Charles Haley Dallas Cowboys Defense

  • Tim

    Crazy Charles! I recall Jimmy Johnson saying he was a smart guy. I wonder what happened.

    • NYCowboysFan

      He started hanging with Justin Beiber.

  • webbman

    Put the pipe down Charles, and walk away

  • David

    “I am not a smart man, but I know what a sack is.” In Forrest Gump voice.

    Charles Haley-

  • Earl Robertson

    It is true you hAve to run the ball if you do that it makes everything work better. But last year defense was a disgrace

  • SmartThinking

    The longer this Dallas team stays on the field, the less chance the other teams will have to score. This defense may be better but it’s far from elite. And that’s exactly what kind of offenses it’s going to face through much of this season.

    I’m afraid that whatever this Dallas offense gains this year, the Dallas defense will give back.

  • Old Frog

    Being able to run the ball on 3rd and short should help us control the clock and take some pressure off the defense. At least that’s my hope.

    • David

      Or maybe staying with the run when its averaging over 6 yards a carry. Im just spit balling here but its just an idea.

  • bumpandrun

    Wow, 5th in points per game scored and 32nd in point per game given up and he thinks the offense is what needs work. He needs to get to rehab center ASAP.

    • NYCowboysFan

      Took the words right out of my mouth. I think he got hit in the head one to many times.

  • IBleedBlue

    I think what big Charles was trying to say was the offense left the defense out there too long in some games because they couldn’t finish. So many times the offense jumped ahead quick only to let off the gas and leave the defense to play bend but don’t break. That works when your team is not decimated with injuries. That works when your defense isn’t comprised with players that were selling popcorn in the stands a few weeks prior to suiting up.

    Running the ball is part of that, which is why the Martin pick makes SO MUCH sense. Watching the offense grind down an opposing defense 4yds at a time not only gives your defense a breather, it also gives them momentum. It’s demoralizing to the opponent and as Charles so eloquently alluded, makes them one dimensional. Dallas is a quick strike team, which is awesome in the first 3 quarters but you have to be able to “step on the opponent’s throat” in order to finish games in the NFL. Dallas certainly DID NOT do that from an offensive perspective last year. it relied on a winded, depleted defense comprised of no-names to do it for them.

    Sure the defense could have played exponentially better than it did last year. But Charles is not wrong with regard to what he said. I think perhaps he could have said it more diplomatically but well, he’s Charles Haley. He can say whatever he wants, imo. He’s got the rings to back it up.

  • ctcowboy1968

    Ridiculous statement. O has to change to more of a running game. Tony needs to be controlled from calling pass audibles. But the D has to improve tremendously.

    • NYCowboysFan

      If we can run block then Tony won’t call audibles. He doesn’t do it because he wants to, he does it because he has to.

  • Howard C

    The key to fixing the Cowboys woes is… Zack Martin. The last time the ‘Boys had a good OL they went 13-3. Romo will have the confidence to not check out of runs and He will also be able to step up in the pocket more. This will lead to fewer hits on Romo and longer sustained drives. This will keep the D off the field therefore they will be fresher in the second half of games. Along with the upgraded DL and Marinelli controlling the entire D… The negativity is understood but l think we should be a little bit optimistic. They lost at least 3 games last season due to inability to hold on to leads. The Lions, Chargers, and Bears games all come to mind.

  • aerdna smailliw

    The closest I could decipher from what Haley is saying is the time of possession was swayed heavily to the opponents due to the offenses inability to run and take time off of the clock. But looking at the stats from each game the only two games they decisively lost time of possession were the New Orleans and Chicago blowouts.