1. Welcome to CowboysZone!  Join us!  Come on!  You know you want to!

Graziano says Defense the key

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by jobberone, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/post/_/id/52446/twitter-mailbag-the-vick-rg-iii-comparisons

    Rick Reg
    @rjr1977

    #nfceastmail do you think the cowboys did enough at safety and o-line to impove on back to back 8-8 seasons and make the playoffs?

    Jun. 27, 2013

    @ESPN_NFCEast: No, but I dispute the notion that improvements at those positions were the most important thing for the Dallas Cowboys to do in order to make the playoffs. I would argue that improved health on defense is the key to their season. If they had engaged in a more extensive offensive-line overhaul, I might have said yes to your question. But all they really did was add first-round draft pick Travis Frederick at center. I like that move, and it will help, but it doesn't exactly solve all of the problems. Nor does replacing Gerald Sensabaugh with Will Allen and hoping Matt Johnson makes an impact at safety. They couldn't do much this offseason and didn't, which means the key for them getting out of the 8-8 rut is for the players who helped get them to the brink of a division title each of the past two years to play a little bit better and stay a lot healthier than they did in 2012. Think about it this way: If Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff, Barry Church and Orlando Scandrick all stay healthy for 16 games, isn't that going to be the rough equivalent of a massive free-agent haul on defense?


    Graziano thinks it's the defense and I think this is a big part of the equation but I think RZ performance for the offense is another key although that's on both the D and the O. The other part of the golden key to success is turnovers esp differential. Gotta get outta the red there.

    Anyway, it's the offseason and I thought I'd throw this out there to be rehashed....again. Here's my contribution. I'm worried about safety like most are but I don't like the CB situation either. I'm worried about Carr and wasn't really that pleased with him last year. He looks slow and not so quick either. OScan has always been inconsistent AFAIC. Claiborne is a sophmore. What's his year going be like? I love the Webb pick but he's a rookie although I expect him to contribute. And I like Moore but can he start? Where's the depth behind those guys? Can they tackle well enough to play this defense?
    big dog cowboy likes this.
  2. newnationcb

    newnationcb Well-Known Member

    2,639 Messages
    334 Likes Received
    If Carr is what you say he is, why hasn't he gotten exposed in what 5 or 6 years in the league now? Here's a guy whose play warranted a 50 million dollar contract and who continued to justify that contract with his play this season.

    If you're worried about our CB situation then in your eyes our team has no shot at all this season.
  3. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

    31,853 Messages
    7,578 Likes Received
    I think Graziano's right here. I'd add that the scheme change on defense is a significant question mark as well.
  4. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

    12,507 Messages
    83 Likes Received
    People always focus on the conclusion and not on the "process". Of course, TO differential is very higly correlated to winning but it's not so easy to say just turn it over less and force more turnovers. I think the key is establishing balance and letting Romo play within himself most of the time with better judgment about when to take some risks. The defensive adjustment will be huge but I believe in people over scheme and I think we have the right people here to install this defense and make it work here. It may take a year or two to get it down pat but I think we'll be fairly good right out of the gate.

    At CB I was never so enamored with Carr from the beginning. He is young, has high character and plays hard. I don't think he'll be an epic bust but I also don't think he will ever be worth the contract we gave him. Hopefully he'll be able to press more this year which is where he has been successful playing with physicality rather than with loose hips and great burst. You don't get a CB who is so limited and then not let him play to his strength - this is why Ryan lost him job, IMO. He promised a certain style of play, had two years, big resources invested and he never put up anything more than a mediocre offense that let QBs put up ridiculous QB ratings. He wasn't fooling anyone except his own players. We are better off now that he is out of here. I am really excited about this whole group of CBs. I really think Mo will do well in this new scheme and I hope we see those ball skills. I am not as sure about OScan but he should be okay for the year and has always played well going downhill. I really like the 4th and 5th CBs in Webb and Moore. We are actually pretty blessed to have a group like this.

    As for the Safety spot, I really think that Church is going to be good. I saw enough last year through the first 3 games to see he was the best Safety we've had since Roy Williams went soft in 2006. If he was moving well in mini-camp then I know he will be good. As for the other Safety spot, I am not convinced Allen is the starter when the season opens. It'll be a good competition and I won't be shocked if Johnson steps up and wins the spot.

    I do agree that our defense needs to step up with all the big expensive parts we have invested in (Spencer, Ware, Rat, Mo, Carr, Lee, Carter, OScan) it and these guys are at their collective peak and need to play better as a unit than they have in the past. Perhaps we have overrated them and overpaid them and overdrafted them but mostly I think we have coached away from their strengths. We assembled the pieces of an attacking 4-3 defense but made them play a style of ball that they weren't built for. Ware and Spencer are more small DEs than large OLBs and always have been. Rat is a 3-tech DT who has been forced to play NT. We have aggressive and physical press corners who have been playing well off the WRs. Kiffin and Marinelli are smart guys who have been around the game for 40-50 years and I think they'll tweak what Seattle has been doing to optimize the skills of these players. I salivate at the notion of Ware attacking from a wide 9 stance with all that speed, power, flexibility and change of direction skills flying off the edge to hunt QBs. I love the idea of Rat going 1-on-1 with an OG. I love the idea of Lee and Carter flying around all over the field to fill in gaps in the zone coverages. I think it is going to be a treat to watch it all unfold but we do need the stars to stay healthy to make this thing work.
    PeeKZ_333, justbob and jobberone like this.
  5. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    Worried (probably concerned is a better word) about the DBs and thinking we have no shot at all is not the message I wanted to convey. And I'm aware of Carr's contract but I can only base my concerns off what I saw last year. Without looking it up I believe he led the team in INTs with 3 with 1 TD but that's ok not a ringing endorsement. He's never been a ballhawk. He will tackle. He looks a little slow to me and had trouble at times playing off receivers IMO. He appears better to me when he presses and can get his hands on the receiver. I don't know how much press coverage we'll play this year but that's not a known mainstay of the TB2. However, I've read enough stuff from Kiffin to think we are going to be definitely running a hybrid of the defense. Fans are just going to have to wait and see what the D does and I suspect we won't see too much until the season opens.

    OScan has been inconsistent but he's a decent slot DB. I liked what I saw from Moore last year but he's a relative unknown. Ditto Claiborne although we have more data on him. And Webb is a rookie. Do you have a feel for the depth at CB?

    I always have concerns or worries if you must about the CBs. Few teams have a lot of known depth behind their starters. And it's not unusual to lose a starter or two at least for a few games.

    I'll let others weigh in on the safeties although I think we'll start the year off being decent at both CB and S. I'm interested in how well the secondary tackles esp the CBs. And I'm anxious to see the LBs and DBs trying to strip the ball while making sure tackles.

    BTW, I predicted 8-8 seasons the previous two years and I'm on record as saying we'll be 10-6 this year. Hopefully that's not the kiss of death.
  6. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

    51,574 Messages
    5,494 Likes Received
    Cheez and jobberone like this.
  7. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    I liked this post and mostly agree with it.

    In a general way you're right about TOs. For Tony that is a good deal on him not to turn the ball over. No fan understands the pressure this guy gets consistently more than I do. So if you say balance then I think you've got an OL that is giving him some more protection, a better pocket with less collapse, receivers running to the right spot and making the right reads, and a decent running game that takes some of the pressure off Tony to carry the O. I can understand wrong reads and routes but it's on Tony not to throw some on those INTs despite the pressure he gets. Understandable all but ball protection is his number one concern as it is for any QB.

    And while forcing TOs is a product of the right scheme at the right time and having players capable of making plays, you can teach players to make turnovers as well. And I haven't seen us do that as much as I'd like and we certainly haven't gotten them. So, no it isn't easy to magically make TOs. If it was easy everyone would do it. But certain teams and coaches seem to either get their share more often than others. It's our turn esp if we want to be more successful.

    I will the same as you about the CBs. I may be more concerned about the depth but again that's a perennial problem for all teams at that position. While I'm concerned I'm also optimistic esp for Claiborne and Webb and some Moore. OScan is so up and down I'm not sure that'll change but the slot is hard to play so expectations there need to be a little constrained IMO. Carr will likely do reasonably well this year but I agree he's limited and overpaid for his talents. IMO, he would be a pretty good FS and I wouldn't hesitate to put him there if I had someone who could play his CB position. I doubt many here feel or see that but I'm comfortable with that idea however unlikely it is this year.

    I have hopes for Johnson and Wilcox. It might be unreasonable to expect too much from Wilcox but he appears to be a FB player. All I know about Johnson is how excited they are about him. Well, I hope they're right.

    I agree completely with the last paragraph. Nice post as usual Eskimo.
  8. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    Yep and it seems to get less attention here than it should. Add in a healthy Bernie (hopefully), Costa, and Ski to the addition of Fred and you have a different OL. Left Livings out because not sure about his health.
  9. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

    32,585 Messages
    2,242 Likes Received
    I'm not sure Brandon Carr played as well as $50M would have you expect he would. I don't think he was bad or too far off but not quite at the level of pay. If we're comparing to how he played in the second half of his last year in KC which included games against New England and Green Bay, I would say that he was a good bit below that level but only because he was absolutely outstanding in the second half of that season. I really didn't think he would match that but I did think he would snag a few more INTs. Certainly didn't think it'd take him over half the season to pull one down.

    I think he's got better play still to show and I think it's encouraging he picked things up a little towards the end of last year even though the defense was so banged up overall and in particular at the safety position.

    I like him. I think he's probably a little below top tier but still good.
  10. CoCo

    CoCo Well-Known Member

    5,564 Messages
    134 Likes Received
    The "addition" Dallas seems most excited about (besides Frederick of course) is Leary.
  11. CoCo

    CoCo Well-Known Member

    5,564 Messages
    134 Likes Received
    These days I am tending to think the key to our season may well be the D-line. I have confidence in the LB's. I have confidence in the collective CBs. And I'm even optimistic that our Safeties are going to be ok, and get better through the year.

    If our D-line can bring some pass rush heat, and Ware, Spencer, Rat & Hatcher might all be in better spots to pressure now, AND keep the run game under control (a slight worry of mine) then this defense might actually be a defense. That is something we haven't had consistently for some time. The unknown of that scheme transition gives me pause but I am comforted by the list of names we will put on the field if we can keep them healthy.

    I think the offense WILL improve. The O-line WILL be better because of Frederick even if the other ?'s continue to muddle along. I'm hopeful too in an improved receiving corp on the basis of a "light fully on" Dez, improved health of Miles (odds in our favor?), and a collective slight improvement elsewhere (Hanna, Escobar, Williams & Harris) over Ogletree. I'll even suggest the run game could easily improve with some actual holes being created by the center upgrade.

    Between the youngsters we see upside in and the return of so many vets from injury its not difficult to be hopeful about this team.
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Happy Holidays Staff Member

    21,074 Messages
    1,935 Likes Received
    I think it's fair to say we have multiple concerns. I know this, if we continue with the same running game (or lack thereof) and lack of scoring via the run, we're in trouble. It's one thing to be a pass heavy or run heavy team, but when you essentially are ONLY a passing team, in the end, it's going to bite you. We have to run the ball better.
    PA Cowboy Fan and jobberone like this.
  13. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    You're right. Don't know why I left him off other than I expect him to start. My bad.
  14. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    Couldn't agree more. Not only did we avg almost a yard less than the league average but we were almost dead last in the run. If you can't run it in reasonably well from inside the three then you are going to have problems not even listing the other areas of the run game we did poorly.
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Happy Holidays Staff Member

    21,074 Messages
    1,935 Likes Received
    Yep - I'm a little surprised that more fans aren't dwelling on the lack of the running game and lack of quality run blocking. It can very easily and singlehandedly be what keeps this team either out of the playoffs. In a nutshell, it is a HUGE concern for me personally.
  16. CoCo

    CoCo Well-Known Member

    5,564 Messages
    134 Likes Received
    I think Frederick's presence will be felt here. I think we'll have more success running in the redzone. How much more remains to be seen.
  17. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    Many seem to think the running game is passe maybe. I guarantee you our coaching staff doesn't think that. One of Kiffin's biggest jobs is to stop the run which was a problem for us last year as well. We don't run it well at least in the RZ then we'd better be Doomsday III on steroids.
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Happy Holidays Staff Member

    21,074 Messages
    1,935 Likes Received
    I really don't see how we can be worse, to be honest. The problem, as I see it, is we have to be substantially better at running the ball, not marginally better. Even if we are marginally better than last year, we would still end up average at best. Our running stats for the past 2 years are disgraceful.

    So...yes - I do think we will be better as well. The questions remains - how much better and will it be enough to get us over the hump.
    jobberone likes this.
  19. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

    38,882 Messages
    4,454 Likes Received
    The left side of the line was below the league average some but the right side was dismal esp over RG. And you're right. They have to average almost a yard better just to be at league average. We'll see.
    Sarge likes this.
  20. dstew60105

    dstew60105 Active Member

    1,772 Messages
    9 Likes Received
    Carr was a very good signing and our CB position is set for years!!!

Share This Page