There are a lot of questions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys defense for the upcoming 2016.
Who will be the starting defensive ends with Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence missing the first four games due to violating the substance abuse policy?
How will the cornerback situation shake itself out?
Who will be the starting outside linebacker?
These are just a few questions that surround the Cowboys defense that should answer themselves once the off-season practices really start getting underway.
There is one question though that I think may be key to how the defense performs in the upcoming season.
How will Rolando McClain perform after a full off-season in the Dallas Cowboys training program?
Despite the fact that this will be Rolando’s third season with the Cowboys, it will be his first full off-season to go through the strength and conditioning programs.
In year 1 with the Cowboys organization he didn’t join the team until they were already in training camp. Again, he missed the strength and conditioning program in year 2 because he was recovering from a knee injury.
Finally, he should be able to take part in the entire off-season for the Cowboys and that should help him become more physically and mentally prepared for the 2016 season.
We have a witnessed that when Rolando was on his game he is one of the better linebackers in the entire NFL, but there are also those times where he just seems to disappear and I’m hoping that with a full off-season to prepare those lapses in games will vanish.
I would love to see him finally put everything together and quit running hot and cold, because when he’s hot both him and Sean Lee make up one of the better inside linebacker duos in the entire NFL.
In all honesty, I believe that he could just be the key factor in determining whether or not the Cowboys defense is successful in 2016.
The Cowboys really don’t have another player to play that middle linebacker position that can have the same kind of impact that Rolando McClain does.
In 2015, after missing the first four games for violating the substance abuse policy, Rolando still had a really good statistical season. He finished with 97 tackles, nine for losses, two sacks, 10 quarterback pressures, and that interception he return for a touchdown against Miami.
That’s a pretty impressive statistical season, especially considering the fact that he only started 11 games. What’s even more impressive though is the fact that he was averaging 11 tackles a game and if you add in the four games that he missed when he was suspended, he would be close to having approximately 140 tackles or so.
It’s time for the Cowboys patience in McClain to finally pay off and I think that we will see bigger and better things from him in 2016.
There is no denying that McClain is a really good player, but the Cowboys are relying on him to be on the field. If for some reason he becomes unavailable, his impact on the field will be missed and it could end up being disastrous for the entire defense.
There simply isn’t another linebacker that can step in and fill the void left in the middle of the defense. That is why I believe that Rolando McClain is the key to the success of the Cowboys defense in 2016.
Do you agree or disagree?
Please feel free to use the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter @bmart so that we can discuss this topic further.