Understanding Dallas's Defensive Line Needs

Dallas's need along the defensive line is molded by two concepts, the 3 man line and the 4 man line.

Presuming Dallas retains Stephen Bowen, the goal is to have a player who plays every spot of a 3-4 and a 4-3 on the field at the same time, so you can transform your defense, gaining new match ups and causing confusion. As it stands Dallas needs to substitute guys like Marcus Spears and Igor off the field on third downs. Stephen Bowen would come on to the field, and line up next to Jay Ratliff. Anthony Spencer and DWare would line up as DEs.

With Bowen now as the 34 DE, he stays on the field for 3rd down as a DT to compliment Ratliff. DWare lines up at DE,  Spencer lines up at DE, Igor leaves the field, and another LB comes on the field. Dallas's problem is that Igor still leaves the field and another LB comes on, forcing our formation and showing our plan.

Dallas has a choice though, to line up Ware or Spencer as a LB on 3rd down, and use Igor as a 43 DE -- where he's ineffective. The solution is to find a player who can play DE as a 34 vs the run; and pass rush as a DE in the 43.

Cam Jordan is not this man. He is a 43 DT, and a 34DE. We already have a player like than named Stephen Bowen.

The Tactical Advantage of JJ Watt

Check it out: he alone has the size to man the 5 technique combined with the short shuttle and experience to line up at DE on 3rd down. No other 5 tech prospects have demonstrated the skill set to line up at DE as well.

The tactical advantage is huge. With the same personnel you can rabidly switch between 4 and 3 man lines, each equipped with threatening players at every spot. On a typical play, the Dline could be Ware, Ratliff, Bowen, and Watt with Spencer as a strong side backer and Lee WLB, James as MLB — then they could also transform to a traditional 3-4 with Ware back at OLB and Watt at 5. Your personnel would not give away your plans.

It takes a player like Watt to make this defense its most potentially flexible. That immense advantage makes me think Watt will be chosen 1st, with a  RT in the second.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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