What an up and down roller coaster the last three weeks of the NFL season have been for the Dallas Cowboys. Week one they hand the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants a deflating loss on their home turf. Following that surprising win Dallas headed to Seattle and proceeded to embarrass themselves. Last week was all about the defense as the Cowboys shut down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and held Josh Freeman to 110 yards passing in a 16-10 win at Cowboys Stadium. That’s quite a swing of games for a team that no one can seem to figure out on any given Sunday.
So who’s to blame for such inconsistent play? Head coach Jason Garrett? Sure why not? The offensive line? Absolutely. If you want to get technical they are both in for the majority of the blame for the Cowboys’ woes. Garrett was part of the decision process when it came to putting together this offensive line. Thank goodness this isn’t baseball where the contracts are guaranteed because I can think of a couple bad signings that are eroding the offensive line to the point of collapse. But sadly there are no better upgrades available on the open market and the trade market is pretty much non-existent in the NFL anymore. So what are we to do Cowboy Nation? Enter defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his second-year defense.
Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (50) runs on to the field after a time out during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. Cowboys beat the Buccaneers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
Admittedly last season was a tough one for the Dallas defense. It didn’t help matters that the personnel was not the best or the fact that the lockout shortened the amount of time Ryan had to instill his new scheme. All of that is starting to look like a blip on the radar now that the Cowboys have quality players playing at all of the corner spots and an emerging linebacking corps that could be considered one of the best in all of football.
To go along with the upgraded and emerging personnel, Ryan looks like new, energized man. With the lap band surgery and cutting his hair he seems to have even more fire and passion (if that is at all possible) and it is flowing into the defense and how they play. This change in mentality is only going to pay dividends throughout the year.
Against Tampa Bay, there were only two series that the defense bent and allowed scores. One of those I would not entirely blame on them after Tony Romo threw an interception deep in Dallas’ territory on the opening drive. Chalk that one up to missed opportunities, bad o-line play, and penalties. Even with all of that working against them the defense showed everyone what they can do when they are not put in a constant hole like what happened in Seattle.
It’s sad to say, but from the looks of things the offense is going to struggle to put up enough points to win on most Sundays, or any other day for that matter. The offensive line is so bad that the abundance of skill players Dallas has on offense cannot get the time or field position to do anything. If they want any chance at being in contention come December, the Cowboys’ defense will have to tow the load.