The Dallas Cowboys defense has been putrid, to say the least in 2020. They've given up at least 38 points in each of the last three games which is a huge reason for the Cowboys 1-3 start. All of this caused former Cowboys great and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin to question the effort and manhood of the defensive side of the ball.
“Cowboys are out there playing that Oprah Winfrey defense,” Irvin said on NFL Network. “You get 40 points! You get 40 points! You get 40 points! It is absolutely sickening. … People are trying to say, ‘I don't think it's a manhood thing.' Yes it is. It's about your manhood.”
If anybody knows about playing with maximum effort it's Irvin, as team Owner Jerry Jones explained earlier this week when speaking of the Hall of Famer.
“Michael Irvin in the middle of two-a-days…he'd be with his pads on in the middle of the day in Austin, Texas, running between practices,” Jones said. “The other thing he'd do is he wouldn't go to bed much at night, either. That's a man. So when he talks about effort, I listen.”
Irvin's comments came after Safety Xavier Woods had an unusual take when it comes to the Cowboy's effort defensively.
“Our effort's been good,” Woods said Wednesday. “I mean, on certain plays some guys, I mean, me included, there may be a lack, but overall the effort is there. I mean, you don't expect, we're in the NFL, you don't expect guys full speed for 70 plays. That's not possible. But you're going to push all you can. I mean, we know. You don't expect a backside corner to make a play on the opposite side. If he's running full speed the whole time, it's just not possible, to be honest.”
That's quite the eye-opening statement when you look where the Cowboys rank defensively. They're currently dead last in rushing yards (172.5 per game) and points allowed (36.5 per game) and are the 30th ranked defense overall. Mike Nolan's hybrid scheme is complicated and may take a while to fully get right, but when you have the talent the Cowboys have on the defensive side of the ball there's simply no excuse for being arguably the worst unit of it's kind league-wide.
At some point, the players on the Cowboys defense have to take what Irvin said to heart, it's about their manhood at this point. With 12 games left there's still plenty of time to turn it around, but they better get started quickly before the hole they're digging becomes too deep to climb out of.