How Dan Quinn and the Cowboys front office can fix the defense

Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy (center) with owner Jerry Jones (right) executive vice president Stephen Jones Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy (center) with owner Jerry Jones (right) executive vice president Stephen Jones Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dallas Cowboys
linebacker Zaven Collins (23) Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /


I purposely placed this group last because fixing this group is very tricky. Coaching will have to make up the majority of this gigantic step forward this group needs to take. The team has invested a lot of capital here so any adjustments are going to have bigger consequences than the other position groups.

If an individual struggles in your group, that player either doesn’t fit the scheme or he just doesn’t have it anymore. If an entire group struggles, I blame that on the coaches. The Dallas Cowboys linebackers struggled in 2020 meaning they still have a chance.

I have already talked about how much the one technique would help out these linebackers but when it comes to Jaylon Smith, a reduced role might be the ticket. I am against cutting Smith as I do not like the thought of this team paying a player not to be here.

This is the perfect year to bring in a young linebacker to push Smith. If the Cowboys take Surtain with the tenth pick, I propose trading the team’s second and third-round picks to try and jump back into the first round to select linebacker Zaven Collins out of Tulsa.

The Cowboys will more than likely have a third-round compensatory pick so having three players drafted after the third round with a trade involved feels like a win. Especially when you have two first-rounders.

Having the first round option on him would allow you to give him a backup/special teams role while he learns and eventually replaces Smith who has generated headlines for his mistimed swipes and celebrations.

Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is a player I do not want any part of moving forward. The guy seems to have bad body language when the team is losing but has an impressive enough resume to still have a significant amount of influence on the younger crowd.

I have already mentioned Sean Lee so actually playing players like Francis Bernard and Luke Gifford can only help the team decide if those are players worthy of carrying on the roster.

I feel like this past season was a perfect time to allow them to put their play on tape but the Cowboys continuing to play Jaylon Smith is either a message to Cowboys fans to love the product they put on the field or a final audition to determine what to do moving forward.

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I am quietly optimistic that Dan Quinn the defensive coordinator can get his side of the ball to become sneaky good. In time, who knows what can become of this group. I am in wait-and-see mode just like the rest of you.