As a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan I have been known to sample the blue tonic that is so often offered up from the front office folks in Big-D in regards to how the ‘Boys are just a piece or two away from having the puzzle complete to field a Super Bowl contending team. When it comes to the state of the Cowboys defense, though, it’s pretty hard to swallow what The Ranch is cooking. That being the case, the emergence of a leader from the Cowboys locker room and maybe some opening day magic could bring Dallas’ defense out of the depths.
We all know the nauseating stats that came out of the 2013 season. The Cowboys were not only at the bottom of the league in many instances, but also set some not so flattering franchise records as well. That only added insult to the injury plagued campaign, and was a pretty good indicator to just about everybody outside the Cowboys organization that a moving van would be pulling up to then defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s door. Not so fast, my friends…
In a strange game of coaching musical chairs, Kiffin was removed from his defensive coordinator duties only to be given the shiny new title of assistant head coach of the defense, while Rod Marinelli moved into the defensive coordinator spot. If that weren’t weird enough, in what was written off large as a salary cap move, seven time pro bowler DeMarcus Ware was shown the door. Add to that equation the sad fact that Lee has been lost to injury before the season even starts and it would appear that the Cowboys are in a heap of trouble on the defensive front.
With all the grim news, the best hope for the Cowboys is that someone has to step up and make a statement. It could be Marinelli, who seems to have the players firmly in his corner. Perhaps it will be Dallas’ only notable defensive free agency acquisition Henry Melton, who will join Anthony Spencer in attempting to revive a Cowboys pass rushing attack that is a shell of its former self without Ware and Jason Hatcher. Maybe J.J. Wilcox will make a name for himself as the safety Dallas thought he could be when they drafted him in 2012. What if cornerback Brandon Carr makes good on his talk of having a year to remember for the Cowboys in 2014?
There are many variables that go into having a successful defensive showing. Not least of them is getting off to a good start and should the Cowboys find a way to ground the high-flying San Francisco 49ers on opening day, it could go a long way it giving them the confidence they need going forward. Even though it is just one game, the benefits to the Cowboys mentality would be priceless if they were to be able to knock off the Niners at home on September 7. That day is a long way down the road, but it is something to look to as a start on the road to redemption for a Cowboys defense that we in Cowboys Nation hope is not beyond salvation.