The Dallas Cowboys inability to find playmakers on the defensive side of the ball has been their Achilles’ heel for quite some time.
The Dallas Cowboys caught a lot of teams off guard last year as they came off a 4-12 season in 2015. But in a league that strives for parity there are some advantages that come with a bad season, such as having a high pick in the following year’s draft and being granted a less challenging schedule the next season.
Did the 2016 Cowboys benefit from these “rewards” and dare I say, overachieve in 2016? Based on the results through the first quarter of the 2017 season, it’s getting harder to believe that last year’s success was a true snapshot of this team.
As we sit here in 2017 and, albeit, still somewhat early in the season, the Cowboys face more questions than answers. This team seems a shadow of themselves from a year ago and one of the biggest questions Dallas faces is who is their playmaker(s) on the defensive side of the ball?
When was the last time the Cowboys defense had a true game changer on the defensive side of the ball? A player that opposing coaches would dedicate their entire week preparing for and their offensive gameplan would be based on that player’s strengths and weaknesses. Possibly former defensive end DeMarcus Ware?
While Ware was an unbelievable talent and a future Hall of Fame player, the Cowboys defense had plenty of struggles and letdowns during Ware’s tenure in Big D. How about a pair of Hall of Famers such as defensive end Charles Haley or cornerback Deion Sanders? As you can see the list is short and the success of the defense over the last ten years reflects that.
With all the offensive talent this Cowboys organization has had over the last 10 years with names like quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Terrell Owens, tight end Jason Witten, and now quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wide receiver Dez Bryant; they have consistently had average defenses that seem to crumble when they can least afford to.
This organization needs to stop relying on defensive minded coaches such as former head coach Wade Phillips and current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, hoping they can get superb performances out of average players. Until the Cowboys find consistent playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, it will not matter how much talent there is on offense. Any significant postseason success will be extremely difficult to achieve.