How did we get here?
Once upon a time, 2019 seemed like the most promising Dallas Cowboys season in years. Loads of talent across the roster, a real franchise quarterback surrounded by explosive weapons, and a defense coming off a championship level run at the end of 2018.
Their division was favorable, their schedule not too daunting, and the conference wide open for a team like Dallas to go and win it.
Now we sit here with the Cowboys at 6-7. A below average football team that is 3-7 since their fast 3-0 start in September. The season is lost, the team is broken, and everyone involved seems to just want this year to end.
For all the troubles of these 2019 Cowboys, those on the defense feel the most debilitating. During Thursday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears, Dallas allowed what has been a bad offense to completely control them for four quarters. Mitch Trubisky did everything and anything he wanted to, and the Cowboys had no answers for one of the least prolific offenses in all of football.
They were, once again, embarrassed. For all the big contracts which have been given out to players like DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, and for all the hype we attach to guys like Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie – this defense is awful.
How did they get this bad?
Regression was expected from last year, yes, but becoming this level of bad is shocking. To be frank, it stems from a front office which has completely ignored two position groups which are now killing this team: defensive tackle and safety.
Dallas is terrible up the middle of their defense. For as much criticism as Jaylon Smith has received this year (much of it deserved), these defensive tackles do him no favors at all. They are constantly pushed into the linebackers’ laps, muddying the reads and giving free yards to opposing rushing offenses. And it’s not like they are creating much pass rush pressure, either.
Then there is the safety group. Xavier Woods is a nice player to be sure, but the combination of him and Jeff Heath or Darian Thompson is simply not good enough.
In fact, it’s one of the worst safety groups in the NFL.
Dallas had the chance to go and spend to add a big time safety, or to draft a playmaking safety in the second round a year ago. Instead they decided to roll with what they got. And what they’ve gotten is steamrolled by offenses week in and week out.
This unit, and this team, are broken.
And I’m not sure that one coaching change is going to fix it.