In the 2021 offseason, the Dallas Cowboys had a mission to fix the defense. They overhauled the defensive coaching staff and added talent at every level of the defense. It was evident through free agency and the draft that the Cowboys weren't satisfied with a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020.
The Cowboys brought in Carlos Watkins, Brent Urban, and Tarell Basham through free agency to help provide some help in the run game along the defensive line. They drafted Osa Odighizuwa, Chauncey Gholston, and Quinton Bohanna to help a team with depth issues last season.
That's a lot of players added to the defense. But will it be enough?
The Cowboys' defense has to make a significant improvement in 2021 if they hope to be contenders in the NFC. The offense will score, but expecting them to score 35 or more points per game isn't a recipe for sustained success. The defense has to hold up its end of the bargain.
The Cowboys still don't know who will be their starting cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs. There's still uncertainty as to how the interior defensive line will play out. Though there's depth at linebacker, how they're deployed will be interesting to watch.
Dan Quinn has a lot of interesting parts to work with heading into training camp. Will the sum of the Cowboys' parts on defense be enough to get them into the top 15 in points per game this season because that's where they'll need to be if they want to be more than a contender in the NFC East.
With the offense as talented as it is and most of the starting lineup (if not all of it) pretty well solidified, the Dallas Cowboys' defense provides the questions that hopefully training camp will have an answer to.
The Cowboys need the defense to improve in 2021 and quickly. Dan Quinn and the defensive staff have quite the challenge ahead of them. Though it may take time for the rookies to assert themselves and become significant parts of the defense, Quinn doesn't have time to wait.
As the Cowboys get ready to open training camp next week in Oxnard, California, improving the defense is the most important thing that has to occur in training camp and the preseason. With their week one matchup with Tampa Bay on the horizon, there won't be an opportunity for the Cowboys' defense to ease into the season. They have to be ready when they finish the preseason at the end of August.