ESPN's Mina Kimes (rightly) proclaims Cowboys defense clears Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys would never admit it, but they seemingly set out to accomplish one goal this offseason: close the gap on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cowboys obviously have a Super Bowl in mind and therefore need to contend with the top dogs in the AFC, too, -- and there's a lot of them -- but the Eagles in many ways were the NFL's gold standard for most of last season.

After 2022, it's hard to make the argument that Dallas has a superior offense to Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts was a more-than-deserving MVP candidate, their rushing scheme was deadly, and the trade for A.J. Brown helped unlocked a version of Hurts as a passer that many folks previously thought wasn't attainable.

Still, there isn't a vast gap between the Cowboys and Eagles offenses

The defensive side of the ball is a different story, however. Dan Quinn's unit is undoubtedly the strength of the team and ESPN analyst Mina Kimes is convinced the Cowboys D surpassed the Eagles after this offseason.

Mina Kimes thinks the Cowboys have a better defense than the Eagles

In Kimes' eyes, this shouldn't really be a huge debate, which is a valid argument considering the losses Philly endured on that side of the ball.

While Howie Roseman did well to retain veterans Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and James Bradberry, Javon Hargrave is a major loss as one of the best pass-rushing interior defenders in the game. Further, linebackers Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards are gone after playing 76% and 94% of the snaps last year, respectively.

The Eagles also lost starting safeties C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps, who both logged well over a 90% share of the snaps.

While Philadelphia might still have a top 10 defense, the Cowboys have the better personnel and superior defensive coordinator. In 2022, Quinn's defense ranked second in DVOA, second in EPA per play and second in pass-rush win rate as a team, a tick behind the first-place Eagles.

The Cowboys were especially dominant when they used dime personnel, as Kimes explained on the latest episode of "The Mina Kimes Show."

It shouldn't be understated that the Cowboys posted these numbers and didn't experience any crushing losses on defense.

Rotational defensive lineman Carlos Watkins is their biggest loss, but first-round pick Mazi Smith should offset that (at the very least), help improve the team's success against the run and unlock holes for the team's second-level defenders -- whether it be Leighton Vander Esch, Damone Clark, Donovan Wilson or Jayron Kearse -- to get after the quarterback.

By no means are we shading the Eagles defense, but it's hard to analyze last season and this offseason and not draw the conclusion that the Cowboys should (emphasis on should) have the superior defense in 2023.

More Cowboys news and analysis: