Tha Sports Junkies 101

Is Doomsday Lurking For “Big D”?

TX Dimples via Flickr

The NFL has announced that Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended the first 10 games for his second failed substance abuse test. In 2015, he was suspended for the first four games.

Although McClain has had a troubling start to his career, he looked revitalized in Dallas. He played exceptionally well, considering that he was out of football in 2013. In 24 games, he compiled 161 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, and a touchdown.

The Cowboys acquired him via trade from the Baltimore Ravens during the 2014 off-season. McClain retired after he was released by the Raiders in 2012. He then signed with the Ravens during the 2013 off-season and a month later, he retired.

This is catastrophic for a defense that has already lost starting defensive ends Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence to suspensions as well.

Lawrence is the Cowboys’ best pass rusher. He led Dallas with eight sacks last season. Gregory had character issues coming out of Nebraska and now they’re resurfacing. He’s expected to replace Greg Hardy.

The Cowboys also received news that Notre Dame second round pick Jaylon Smith  is unlikely to play this season because of a knee injury he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl.

He was rated as the top outside linebacker by in 2012. Smith immediately inserted himself as a defensive stalwart in South Bend.

As a true freshman, he started all 13 games and registered 67 tackles, 6.5 tfl’s, a forced fumble and one interception.

Last season, Smith was the Butkus Award winner, in addition to being an All-American in 2014 and 2015.

Other than Sean Lee, the Cowboys defense lacks play makers on the defensive side of the ball. Lee has had durability issues, so that’s another area of concern as well.

Unproven players such as David Irving and Ryan Russell will now be counted on to generate a pass rush on a consistent basis within the first four games.

The secondary is an average unit at best. However, the Dallas defense is well coached. Rod Marinelli is one of the more respected defensive minds in the NFL.

Jerry Jones has failed to address his team’s defensive needs this off-season. As a result, the Cowboys are expected to struggle defensively this season.

As the adage goes, offense wins games but defense wins championships. I think its safe to say “America’s Team” won’t be winning any championships this season.