3 reasons to be optimistic about the Dallas Cowboys in 2024

After a disappointing end to the 2024 playoffs, Dallas Cowboys fans need something to look forward to. Here are three.
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
2 of 3

2. Cowboys new defense under Mike Zimmer

Change is a scary, but needed thing for improvement. In no way am I happy about the loss of Dan Quinn, but something had to be done. Many would argue a change at head coach would be a better move for the Cowboys, but you can only deal with the cards you're dealt.

Under Quinn, we've seen the best Cowboys defenses in a long time. However, how much of it is Quinn, and how much is it the talented players on the field? That question will have an answer in a few short months.

Taking Quinn's place is Mike Zimmer. The former Vikings head coach is renowned as one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. Other than his final two seasons in Minnesota, Zimmer's defenses have been good to great, spearheaded by smart defensive players and size.

One thing for certain is that Dallas' defense will be more stable than it was under Quinn. Quinn's reliance on stunts to manufacture a potent pass rush was very successful when playing with a lead, as it forced the opposition to throw the ball and either force a sack or interception.

When Dallas trailed, though, the opposition attacked the stuns with run plays for chunk yards while eating clock. That should no longer be an issue under Zimmer, who will play a more standard 4-3 defense, relying on players winning their battles rather than scheming up pressure.

Having bigger bodies in the front seven will help clean up the run-defense issues. The Cowboys' skilled pass rushers should continue to win their battles and be a threat in the passing game, without sacrificing their leverage to be exploited against runs.

The demanding and no-nonsense style of Zimmer could give the defense the discipline they need to finish the job in the playoffs, something the Cowboys haven't done since the 1995 season. Fewer penalties and a solidified run defense will go a long way.