How Cowboys fix their defense
It's clear changes are needed, but who stays and who goes?
- Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsMonte Kiffin's defense hasn't worked this season in Dallas.
Despite receiving a gift on Sunday afternoon when the Philadelphia Eagles fell 48-30 to the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys couldn't capitalize. Everyone has seen or heard how Dallas blew a 26-3 second-half lead to fall 37-36 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and everyone has subsequently blamed Tony Romo and/or coach Jason Garrett. They both played their role -- according to ESPN Stats & Information, the Cowboys entered this game with the league's second-lowest running percentage (37) when holding a lead, and that pass-happy preference was inexcusable Sunday -- but they're not solely responsible for the problems in Dallas.
In truth, most of the blame should go to the defense, which is staking its claim as the worst in the league. What does this team need to do to fix this unit this offseason?
Before delving into everything that has gone wrong, it's only fair to point out Dallas has suffered an inordinate amount of injuries, especially along the defensive line. The Cowboys franchised Anthony Spencer last offseason, but he has missed most of the season with a knee injury. Jason Hatcher has been a superb player up front, but he, too, has missed time. At linebacker, the Cowboys on Sunday were without Bruce Carter and Sean Lee, their best defensive player and a premier linebacker. They also lost Justin Durant to a hamstring injury and Ernie Sims to a hip injury, which utterly depleted their linebacking corps as the game progressed.
However, the real issue with this defense lies in the initial decision to switch from an attacking 3-4 defense to Monte Kiffin's 4-3 Cover 2 scheme. This was foolish to begin with, as they have asked too many players at every level of the defense to do things at which they do not excel. Now they must course correct to help rehabilitate the players they've put into a compromised position.
To read more on how to fix the Dallas Cowboys' defense, you must be an ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Jets release Holmes, create more cap space
- Staying in the nest: Seahawks retain Bennett
- Source: Steelers will release OLB Woodley
- Retiring Mendenhall: Tired of life in NFL
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
THE NFL ON ESPN.COM
Thanks to the CBA, this year's crop of free agents is positioned to hit the jackpot.
- Nike Youth Away Game Jersey Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee #50
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker