News: SI: Cowboys Preview: There Will Be Points

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by CCBoy, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. CCBoy

    CCBoy Well-Known Member

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    Cowboys Preview: There Will Be Points
    An explosive offense will do some damage. But after a historically poor season and the loss of key personnel, can this defense stop anyone?

    Andy Benoit


    Don’t believe the Cover-2 defense is dead as a base NFL scheme? Even one of its fathers, the great Monte Kiffin, has moved on from it. In 2013, coordinating an NFL defense for the first time in four years, Kiffin recognized that his patented Cover-2 had been solved by offenses and was easily exploitable, especially by increasingly popular 3 x 1 sets. Its ultra-conservative nature makes it a third-and-long defense, a new age “prevent.”

    So Kiffin opted to play a base Cover-3 which, like the Cover-2, is a zone, but with an important distinction: instead of two high safeties, there’s only one. This changes everyone’s zone responsibilities and creates an extra defender to apply either in underneath coverage or to the pass rush.

    Of course, Kiffin’s Cowboys often seemed to be playing Cover-0. Not as in “all-out blitz,” but as in “nobody covers anyone.” Through 14 games, the 2013 Cowboys had already allowed the most yards in franchise history. The 415.3 yards per game they allowed was the worst in the league, and third-worst in league history.

    It wasn’t the scheme’s fault so much as it was due to rampant injuries. The Cowboys had significant stretches without Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware, Morris Claiborne, Anthony Spencer, Tyrone Crawford, J.J. Wilcox and Justin Durant. When they gave up five straight touchdown drives in a Week 15 home loss to Green Bay, they were already starting six backups and wound up playing three backups’ backups.

    Still, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett saw fit to demote Kiffin this offseason, moving him to assistant head coach/defense. Kiffin’s longtime friend and former understudy, Rod Marinelli, is the new coordinator. Marinelli is another Cover-2 acolyte moving into new schemes. He says the Cowboys will play more man-to-man, as that plays to the strength of what’s left of a defense that has since lost Ware (released), Jason Hatcher (free agency), Lee (ACL surgery), Spencer (still on PUP following October microfracture surgery) and Orlando Scandrick (four-game suspension).


    With Orlando Scandrick (32) suspended for the first four games, Morris Claiborne will have to step up. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

    It’s alarming that the secondary can be considered this defense’s strength. Yes, Brandon Carr is a physical press corner with good size and adequate movement skills (though he was up-and-down as last season unfolded). Scandrick, one of the league’s premier slot corners, has recently blossomed into a fine every-down player with an ability to operate on the outside in base. But the seventh-year pro only got the opportunity outside because Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012, has not developed. Injuries have kept him out of games and a lot of in-season and offseason practices. Garrett says he must get stronger.

    Claiborne’s struggles are miniscule compared to B.W. Webb’s, a fourth-round pick a year ago who might have a tough time even making the final cut. Webb was supplanted midway through last season by street free agent Sterling Moore, who remains on the roster...
  2. Sportsbabe

    Sportsbabe Well-Known Member

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    See "Secondary" part of this article: this is why I'm not feeling Claiborne and Carr. I hope they prove me wrong.
  3. CCBoy

    CCBoy Well-Known Member

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    I feeling pretty good, and understand that younger parts, (non Carr and Scandrick), are still progressing. And there is some actual talent and hitters in the group.

    I think there will be much fewer 10+ yard plays by opponents and more turn-overs for Dallas this season.

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