The fastest way to improve our D may start with DL

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Bobhaze, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Moderator

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    We all know the old joke- “Why are they called the ‘Allas Cowboys? Because there’s no ‘D’ in Dallas.” And for too long it has been sadly true. But the serious question is, what’s the fastest way to turn this defense around into at least something decent?

    The short answer may be to simply improve the defensive line’s play. Why? Let us look at their performance the last two seasons:
    • In the 2020 season last year, the Cowboys finished tied for 20th in the NFL with 31 sacks.
    • They were even worse last year with QB pressures, finishing 25th with just 132.
    • Last year, we ranked 27th in tackles for loss with only 54. We all know how bad this D was against the run, and the 2020 D gave up the most points in franchise history. Ouch.
    • Compare all that to 2019, when Dallas had 8 more sacks than 2020, 17 more pressures and 22 more TFLs. And our defense wasn’t that great in 2019.
    The good news is if we can get more aggressive defensively with the front 7, our numbers can improve quickly. For example, with new D coordinator Dan Quinn, I’m hoping we get more aggressive than with Mike Nolan and Rod Marinelli, who almost never blitzed. That needs to change.

    How little has this team blitzed?
    • The Cowboys in 2020 blitzed only 23% of the time, the same % as 2019. Last year, we ranked 27th in number of blitzes.
    • Only the Eagles, Bears, Browns, Colts and Chargers blitzed less in 2020.
    I realize that merely blitzing more doesn’t guarantee success, but offenses preparing for the Cowboys defense the last few years rarely had to worry about some exotic blitz package coming at them, much less regular pressure. The result was our secondary was often expected to cover receivers far too long.

    Dan Quinn has said he wants to “simplify the scheme and play faster and more aggressively”. That should help. But this team also needs to upgrade the talent plus see what we have in Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill. I expect to see a DL or two drafted although there’s supposedly not much impactful talent in this year’s draft.

    Here’s hoping the play of our DL will start the process of making this defense more aggressive on the front end, making it easier on the secondary. Easier said than done of course.
    Bullflop, reddyuta, quickccc and 16 others like this.
  2. J12B

    J12B Well-Known Member

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    Any improvements anywhere on defense will improve the defense.
  3. Risen Star

    Risen Star Likes Collector Zone Supporter

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    We must take a cornerback at 10.
  4. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean may? Of course it is. The secondary doesnt matter when an opponent can run 5 yards at will or has all day to pick out a receiver.
  5. CouchCoach

    CouchCoach Moderator

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    Is there a DL worthy of the 10 pick? I've seen 1 LB and 2 CB's mentioned as possible top 10's but not a DL.

    Most of what Bullet addresses has to do with the pass D, until they stop the run, the pass D will suffer as well. The Cowboys D is a play action dream for an OC.

    If Quinn wants to be more aggressive, then he better get better talent at DT and keep the OL honest. Just one really good DT and the DE's automatically benefit from that and reduce the available blockers.

    The live by the blitz, die by the blitz is no worse than the shortest distance between the backfield and the end zone is right down the middle. I think the MLB is a weak point so the need for that DT because even more critical and the Cowboys have never really had a good D without that middle triangle and the DT's need to be the strength of that because they're not getting rid of the MLB. If they can provide pressure, more the better but that's not their job, taking up 3 blockers in the middle is.
  6. Adreme

    Adreme Well-Known Member

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    The reason you blitz is to create more pressure, but you can only really blitz consistently if you have a strong secondary. For example the two highest blitzing teams in the NFL are the Ravens at 46% and the Steelers at 41%. For the Ravens that secondary is the strength of their team, they have multiple all pro players corners, and the Steelers have a bunch of good players in the secondary (not on the same level but still very good). Because of this they can blitz all night. The Cowboys do not have a good secondary. It is rather terrible in fact. This means that blitzing is a big risk.
  7. Mr_437

    Mr_437 Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather have the front 7 fixed over the secondary too. Allas can get by with 2 ballhawks in Wilson n Diggs, if the front is wreaking shop.
    AshyLarry06, Typhus and Bobhaze like this.
  8. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Moderator

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    It’s true, there’s not much DL talent at the top of this draft. And we need help at so many positions on D- literally. Taking a CB, LB, DT and/or S are all holes to fill. Just get some guys that are good enough to play well right away.

    But we can’t get much better very soon if we can’t stop the run or pressure the QB. The DL has been way under appreciated here for far too long.
  9. CouchCoach

    CouchCoach Moderator

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    They're not going to fix this in one off season. Particularly with the QB situation and the secondary up for new contracts. If they improve that front 7, maybe they can get by renewing 2 of the 3 DB's up? They should be affordable.

    If they have the cap, I would prefer they take a proven DT in FA, and not one on the downside of his career, and take Farley or Surtain if they are there but that is iffy.

    The other side of this is posters thought they reached for Yosemite in the 1st years ago and that proved to be a great pick. Maybe they do the same thing at 10 with Barmore?

    Teams like the Cowboys, with obvious needs, cannot play the PBA. They did that last year in the 1st and the D actually got worse.

    WFT took some chances on that DL in the draft and it worked out really well.
    Bobhaze likes this.
  10. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Which came first? The chicken or the egg? I do know pressure creates turnovers.
  11. SeanLee50

    SeanLee50 Well-Known Member

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    I’m thinking another cheapish name is DaQuan Jones. Had a down year but can play all positions
  12. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Moderator

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    The Cowboys having so many needs at multiple positions make this year’s draft and FA period doubly interesting.
    buybuydandavis, EJK24 and JoeKing like this.
  13. Rayman70

    Rayman70 Well-Known Member

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    Wonder if Zaven Collins or Barmore at 10 is an option?
  14. JoeKing

    JoeKing Diehard Zone Supporter

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    Another quality post by you, Bobhaze. But I will just say this... despite your campaign to find the "fastest way" to fix the D, there are no shortcuts. I like your idea of fixing the DL first, we have to start somewhere and the DL will be tested by every team we play. However, the good teams will just throw the ball past them and the LBs and secondary will have to be relied on if the D is to be able to stop offenses. There can be no holes in this D... not just the DL.
  15. DakPresgoat

    DakPresgoat Well-Known Member

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    I truly wish there was a blue chip Defensive tackle that was worth the 10th overall pick.

    having a stud in the middle is so sorely needed.
  16. buybuydandavis

    buybuydandavis Well-Known Member

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    Given how awful the secondary was for much of the season, some of the blame for our poor sack/pressure numbers surely must fall at their feet, instead of the dline.

    DLaw and Gregory are a good DE pair, but we had nothing at DT all season. Gallimore showed a little, but is still just a developmental player. Hill showed less, and is still just a developmental going into his 3rd year, and coming off season ending knee injury last year.

    The most pressing starter needs are at FS and 3T. I hope we trade back, get another 2nd round pick, and can find value at 2 of our top 3 picks at those positions. Run/pass 3T and FS. The pass rush, and defense generally, should improve a lot if we pull that off. Let Gallimore be the 1T pass rush starter, and Hill back up both positions in rotation.
  17. nightrain

    nightrain Since 1971

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    If there is no DT worthy of the #10 pick and Surtain II is available, I would love to see him paired with Diggs. With an improved CW as the enforcer, could be the making of a Legion of Doom.
    Bullflop and Bobhaze like this.
  18. J12B

    J12B Well-Known Member

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    If Surtain or Farley aren't there, we gotta take Pitts or Parsons.
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  19. Turk

    Turk Well-Known Member

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    The only FA out there that would really help the interior D Line is Thomlinson. But he will be expensive.
    I see nothing in the Draft that really make me think they are a real difference maker inside; this is a poor year for DT's.
    aria and sbark like this.
  20. Fletch

    Fletch To The Moon

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    Didn’t know Kyle Pitts played CB.
    Blackthorn likes this.

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