Yesterday I shared with you the offensive adjustments I hope the Dallas Cowboys made during the bye week, today I want to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
The Dallas Cowboys have quite a bit of talent on defense, but for some reason or another they have yet to play up to that talent this season. I believe with just a few minor adjustments they can become a much more consistent unit, and in turn, raise the level of their game.
Let’s take a look…
Anthony Brown out, Jourdan Lewis in
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it… Jourdan Lewis absolutely deserves more playing time then he’s been receiving this year and last. I truly believe he is the second best cornerback the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster. For some reason though his talent is only being used out of necessity. It’s time for that to change and I think the Cowboys defense will be better for it.
Look no further than what the defense was able to do in a Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles. They were a turnover making machine and played with an entirely different swagger than we’ve seen in the first six weeks of the season. It might be a coincidence that No. 27 replaced Anthony Brown as the nickel CB, but I don’t think so. Lewis is a fiery competitor and I think that attitude rubbed off on his teammates. That’s why I wouldn’t change anything coming off the bye week.
Dial up the Pressure
Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard have two different approaches when it comes to defensive playcalling. Marinelli prefers to try to apply pressure to opposing offenses with just his four down lineman, whereas Richard likes to dial up different blitz packages. Neither are wrong in their approach, but for the Dallas Cowboys it seems as if they prefer Richard’s in-your-face, more aggressive attacking style. In fact, they seem to feed off of it.
Case in point, look what the Dallas Cowboys defense did in Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles. They were much more aggressive getting after QB Carson Wentz and it paid off. The defense created more turnovers in that one game and they have the entire season. I personally hope this is a tactic they continue to deploy the rest of the season, especially after the addition of Michael Bennett. No matter how you look at it, he’s an upgrade for Dallas’ defensive line.
Execute. Execute. Execute
The Dallas Cowboys have managed to put together quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but for whatever reason they have yet to really play up to that talent in 2019. The closest they’ve probably came to accomplishing that might have been against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7, but even then there was a lot they could have done better. Personally, I think it all comes down to execution and I’m hoping it was something they stressed the importance of during the bye week.
Sounds simple, right? Honestly, I think it is that simple. All they need to do is maintain their gap discipline in the running game, carry out their responsibilities in the passing game, and finish as a tackler. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done… Or is it? I believe it all comes down to playing smarter and not trying to do too much. I think if the Cowboys defense can do that they will improve and become a much a more consistent unit. I’m not expecting perfection, just consistency.