There was much talk this off-season about the Cowboys defense being better. DeMarcus Ware is arguably the best defensive end in the league. His record setting season of 20 sacks is something Cowboys fans have been looking forward too for this year. After two games, Ware has none. Ware is also in the midst of negotiating a new contract, which is anticipated to be one of the most lucrative for a defensive end, especially in light of the former Titans end Haynesworth going to Washington for big bucks. Ware has yet to really put his stamp on this defense for 2009. Granted, it's only the second game but should we be worried? Tampa Bay made the decision to start Lefwich at quarterback and he is a journeyman at best. Yet the Cowboys never got a sack. They abused him AFTER the pass but never recorded a sack.
The Giants have proven one thing since 2007. A great defense can win a championship even with an average offense. The Ravens loved playing defense and their fans screamed with delight when their defense was on the field. They won a Super Bowl with their Ray Lewis lead defense and with a very average quarterback on offense. The Cowboys on the other hand, have great tools at their disposal on both sides of the ball. So where is the championship defense?
This Sunday night against the Giants, the defense was focused on stopping their bruising running back Jacobs. As a great team will do, they will make adjustments to what the opposing team is doing. Coach Tom Landry was famous for saying that "the first five minutes of the third quarter was the most important". Whether or not that's true, it's how your defense shuts down the opposing team that dictates how well your offense can stay on the field and dominate the other defense. So when the Giants began passing the ball, where was our secondary? Terence Newman was routinely beaten with the long ball. Orlando Scandrick, in his first start of the season struggled in coverage. On third downs, the Cowboys defense either could not tackle, could not put a consistent rush on the quarterback and could not keep good coverage downfield. Eli Manning consistently found open receivers for first downs. Poor tackling by the defense has also hurt in the end. Tampa ran Cadillac Williams up the middle for six to eight yard gains before being tackled. Wade Philips is supposed to be a defensive guru?
Until the Cowboys defense shows this, they will continue to be regarded as "just another average team". A great defense shuts down offenses. As the old adage goes, "Offense may score points but defense wins championships". Just ask the Patriots of '07.