Analyzing Cowboys Defensive Struggles Against New Orleans Saints

When the 2014 season came to an end for the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field last year, there was one glaring weakness on this team. They couldn’t get to a hobbled Aaron Rodgers all day long and allowed him to pick them apart with a guy named Davante Adams (who has since to have that same level of success).

Drew Brees had a similar day when the Cowboys hit the field at the Superdome during Week 4’s Sunday Night Football.

Let me first say that I know there are defensive playmakers (Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, and for the most part Sean Lee) that were absent for this game. I know that. Somebody still has to step up.

Pass Rush

There were 3 total sacks accumulated by the Dallas Cowboys defense in this contest, but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of pressure in Drew Brees’ face. The Cowboys allowed Brees to pick them apart, a trademark feature of his, by not wreaking havoc in the backfield.

The defense as a whole obviously took a step down in production when Sean Lee exited the game with a concussion, but they have to start getting production out of their depth guys. Brees was able to methodically control drives against them when it mattered because, save for the few sacks, he had time in the pocket to do it.

I will say that new Cowboy David Irving played very well and did generate some pressure all by himself. He could be a diamond in the rough for the Cowboys and even though reinforcements are coming, he played well enough that he should still have a role going forward.


Morris Claiborne is playing out of his mind right now, and I think that we are all very happy and pleasantly surprised. He seems to be the best player at the secondary level right now and while that is great news, the bad is that JJ Wilcox had a really bad game against the Saints.

JJ is starting to remind me of Roy Williams (the safety) and how he would constantly go for big-play type hits, aiming at ball carriers with his shoulder. I want to see him wrap up more, and if he doesn’t he might be riding the bench soon.

It breaks my heart every time I think about what the Cowboys could have been with Orlando Scandrick, especially given the recent play of Mo, but it’s obvious that they miss him. Brandon Carr didn’t play terribly, but he is getting outplayed by Mo and he knows it.

Overall Grade

It’s hard for me to pin this loss entirely on the defense because I do believe they did enough to win the game. Did they let Drew Brees drive the length of the field at the end of regulation? Yes. Did they get lucky and get a second chance in overtime? Yes. Did they blow that thanks to a rookie linebacker, Damien Wilson, being unprepared for Drew Brees? Yes.

I’ll give them a C+ because you’ve got to win to earn consideration for a really high grade. Thank heavens Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain will be back this week, and hopefully Randy Gregory soon because this unit is in desperate need of a spark. If and when the pass rush gets going Rod Marinelli style then the defensive performance as a whole will drastically improve.

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What did you think of the Dallas Defense on Sunday Night? Email me your thoughts at or Tweet to me @RJOchoa!

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RJ Ochoa

Written by RJ Ochoa

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll.

@RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


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