Dallas Cowboys: 7 factors in the recently improved defense

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty) Images
DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty) Images /
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Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys
Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

More factors in the Dallas Cowboys’  improved defense

6. The entire defensive unit seems to finally be grasping defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s defensive scheme – They’re playing with a lot more confidence, speed, and spontaneity.

Earlier in the season, a lot of the defense looked lost, unsure of what they should be doing on any given play. Sometimes, they looked confused, and were often slower than they should be. Across the defense, technique was poor, and tackling was horrific.

Some of this was due to the high number of injuries. But it sure seemed like a lot of the problem was learning the new system, which was undoubtedly aggravated by the shortened training camp schedule. Now, the players seem to finally be “getting it” and consequently playing much better.

A few weeks ago, many fans were calling for Nolan’s head on a platter. Those calls are getting a lot quieter now. If the defense keeps playing this well, they just might go away entirely.

7. Starting cornerback Trevon Diggs has been playing better and better all season – There’s a reason I saved Diggs for last. I almost didn’t include him at all, mostly because I’m bummed. He broke his foot early in the Steelers game, so he may not play again until next season.

But Cowboys fans should be excited about his potential. Early in his rookie year, Diggs got beat a lot. But he’s been getting better. Finally, against Philadelphia in week eight, Diggs broke through, making two interceptions, in addition to four deflected passes. A breakthrough indeed, it was an elite performance.

Of course, that’s only one game, and we won’t see him for a while. But there’s no doubt, Digg’s has been part of the defensive resurgence. We should all be excited to see how far he can go.

Going forward: It’s an open question how good the Cowboy’s defense will be in the remaining games. The loss of Diggs in the secondary will undoubtedly hurt. But this deficit might be tempered by the return of starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, who’s been on injured reserve for most of the season with a hamstring injury. He’s back now, according to Rob Phillips at the Cowboy’s website.

More. Top 10 Undrafted Free Agents in Dallas Cowboys History. light

However, the other improvements appear to be in place. Will their good play continue?  Or will the lethargy of a losing season sap their strength?