There were many changes taking place at Valley Ranch this summer. New play-caller, more balanced offensive attack, and defensive scheme were all new coming into the 2013 season. However, the addition of coach Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator has clearly been the biggest success so far.
Doubt surrounded the defensive line heading into the season, especially when defensive tackle Jay Ratliff went out with an injury and was placed on the PUP. Kiffin and his defense didn’t panic. Instead, he asked his players to step and rise to the occasion, and so far that’s exactly what they’ve done.
In a season where the offense struggled through the first two weeks, it is because of the defense that the Cowboys are leading the NFC East division with a record of 2-1. True they gave up a lot of yards against the Giants but they created turnovers in the most critical parts of the game even when Eli Manning looked poised to make another game-winning drive.
They held the Chiefs, who have proven to be a solid team, to 17 points. They did not force any turnovers, but quarterback Alex Smith has yet to throw an interception this year.
Against the Rams, the defense was, simply put, phenomenal. They held the Rams to 18 yards in the first half. Yes that isn’t a typo, 18. The Rams are a much better team this year than they have been in recent years so holding them to 7 points in a game was no minor accomplishment.
The change seen in this defense isn’t happening by chance. It is a result of the new culture that Monte Kiffin has instilled in the defense and so far, it’s helping this team win ball games.
One would be remiss to not mention the job coach Rod Marinelli has done for this defense. The way we are seeing players like Nick Hayden, Jason Hatcher and George Selvie improve is a direct result of the coaching of Marinelli.
Three weeks into the season and the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC in sacks. Cowboys Nation hopes that trend continues and there’s no reason to doubt that they’ll slack off anytime soon.