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Can The Cowboys Continue To Win With A Below Average Defense?

Can the Cowboys' defense help them win in 2017? PAUL MOSELEY VIA FLICKR

NFL

Can The Cowboys’ Defense Play Well Enough To Propel Them Into The 2017 Playoffs?

The 2016 season was an unexpected and exciting run for the Dallas Cowboys. Although it ended in a heartbreaking loss, the season was successful as a whole. The Cowboys found their quarterback of the future in Dak Prescott, as he led the Cowboys to a 13-win season. Once again, the Cowboys’ defense was the weak link of the team. In their playoff loss, the Cowboys simply couldn’t find an answer to the Green Bay offense. Aaron Rodgers did what he wanted and when he wanted all throughout the game.

The Cowboys are now being forced to reload on the defensive side of the ball after losing several key starters. Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Terrell McClain, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox have each found new homes for the 2017 season. With an already suspect secondary and pass rush, Dallas will rely on the draft and health to continue their success in 2017.

Can The Defense Keep Up?

It seems as though the Cowboys will likely take a step back in 2017 as far as success goes. It’s rare for a team to lose so many starters and continue to have similar success. I’m here to tell you that this Cowboys team will have one of those rare seasons. For right now, the Cowboys’ defense remains a big mystery. Even though they made some defensive additions in free agency, no one really knows what the secondary will look like.

The Cowboys have added cornerback, Nolan Carroll to their secondary. He formally played with the rivaled Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas has also added defensive linemen, Damontre Moore and Stephen Paea. With long-time right tackle, Doug Free retiring, Dallas had to find another offensive lineman. Bryon Bell was recently signed to a one-year deal. These signings will each likely be rotational players for the 2017 season. The Cowboys’ defense has suffered some losses, however the draft coming up is littered with defensive talent.

Defensive Improvement

I know it might sound ridiculous to say that the Cowboys’ defense might actually play better in 2017. I mean, they did lose four to five quality starters on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s the thing, the Cowboys never really had any consistent or dominant players on defense. Outside of Sean Lee, most of the defensive players are pretty expendable.

The Cowboys can load up in the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting defensive prospects early and often. Dallas can snag some elite players in the first three to four rounds. If they can draft a few secondary players and some aggressive pass rushers, who knows what the defense could look like.

The Cowboys’ defense will have youth on their side when the season begins. The defense will likely struggle early, but the talent will show up eventually. Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will dominate the middle of the field, and will help the secondary out big time. Dallas will have a tough test this upcoming season with all the additions made within the division.

Dallas will have to defend against the likes of Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery. The way I look at it, the defense can’t really get any worse than it was in 2016. They ranked near the bottom of the league in pass defense. The secondary never really had any consistent or reliable players to begin with. Also, the defense won’t be on the field as much with how the Cowboys play offense.

Offensive Help

The Cowboys were able to basically cover up some of the weaknesses on defense with their offensive play in 2016. I expect the same result in 2017. This Cowboys team should continue to have winning success this season. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are duel-threat weapons and should carry this franchise for years to come. With a young and strong offensive line that anchors everything up front, the offense won’t miss a beat. The Cowboys were smart in keeping the offensive roster intact for 2017. Dak Prescott needs consistency to continue his development as an NFL quarterback. Bringing Terrance Williams and Brice Butler back was huge for the team. Team continuity is vastly underrated and I was personally very excited that both receivers resigned in Dallas.

Due to how efficient the Cowboys are on offense, the Cowboys’ defense should play well enough to continue their success. The offense is able to possess the ball for lengthy amounts of time, which in turn will provide the defense with extra rest. Dallas is run-first offense and they have a true home-run-hitter in Ezekiel Elliott. He sets up the offense for big play potential on every play. The running game demands so much respect, that Dallas’ other weapons often see single coverage. Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams are capable and consistent players. This offense has elite talent and will help the defense simply by playing their style of football.

The defense in Dallas obviously won’t be the strength of this team, but they will play well enough to get the job done. This Cowboys team has youth and continuity on its side. Dallas should return as one of the best teams in 2017 regardless of who’s playing on the defensive side of the ball. So Cowboys fans everywhere, don’t panic, America’s team will be back on top for the 2017 season.

 

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