People who have read my comments and posts before know that I can be alternatively one of the most homeristic not-paying-attention to facts fans on this site, but at other times one of the most cynical.
It really all comes down to the time period. Frankly once the coin is tossed on September 5th, my cynicism goes out the window and is replaced with a hope-springs-eternal mentality that lasts for 16 (sometimes 17 or 18) games only to be shattered during the months of December or January.
Although I am not a huge fan of Colin Cowherd he made an important point Yesterday on his show. When is a very important word. In his own words: If you're having a beer at 8PM in a bar, it's Happy Hour. If you're having a beer at 5am in a bar, you're an alcoholic.
I am totally OK with being a homer, and putting on my blinders every day of the Football season (except for Monday Morning QBing of course).
I am also totally OK with others being cynical because at the end of the day, it's apparent that we all just want the same thing: The Good Guys to win a Superbowl.
Now that I've gotten that important disclaimer out of the way, it's time to put on my cynicism goggles for the 2012 season:
Carr, Claiborne, Pool, Connor, Carter, Lissemore, Crawford.
These are names that need to have production this season if we are to have a shot at a deep playoff run. To say that our Defense last year was awful would be an understatement. Our Passing Defensive Net Yards per attempt (Total Yards Allowed- Sack Yards/ Total Plays) of 7.6 was good enough for 9th worst in the league in a Passing League.
To give an indicator of just how bad that is, here is a list of teams that had a 7.6 or higher Offensive NY/A Passing record last year: Green Bay, New England, NYG, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Oakland, Carolina, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit.
7 of those teams were playoff teams. We basically allowed opposing teams to have Playoff level offenses against us. Heck, the only reason we won 8 of our games is because our offense was that good.
An eyeball test example: New York Giants Match up Number 1: The Offense got a lead the defense couldn't keep it. Interesting tangent: The offense was great that game but yet again it gets blamed for a loss because of what it couldn't do rather than what it did
Alright, we know there's a problem; how do we solve it? Everyone has a personal goat that they blame for the defense's problems. But a lot of the time, I think we, as fans, suffer from selective memory. Sure, I remember that Giants TE frog leaping Terrence Newman, but I'm not qualified to say that because of that one play he was awful last season (although he was and you're a horrible person for thinking otherwise). I said this last article: it's not just one person. It's never just one person. We might, might be able to blame a position group for the defense's problem, although I am loathe to do so.
This is where my thought process kicks in: Some of the people may be wrong all the time; All of the people may be wrong some of the time; But all of the people cannot be wrong all of the time. There were very much glaring holes on the Cowboys' Defense Last Season: The Statistics tell us that; I saw them; You saw them; Opposing Offensive coordinators saw them. They didn't just spontaneously generate in our heads. In the first Philadelphia game the Eagles decided to target the middle of field (Linebacker territory), and they got away with it. Heck, that game changed my opinion on Sean Lee's capacity as a coverage linebacker (Although he was only in the game for a quarter), because once he left the linebackers actually got better. We also cannot deny that when Alan Ball was in the game opposing offenses seemed to target his side of the field.
This one is kind of biased, and I know the numbers don't always support it, but I felt that the D-Line group wasn't getting enough Push on the O-Line enough of the time. The safeties themselves didn't do badly, but they certainly weren't exceptional.
So where does that leave us? Inner Linebackers, D-Linemen, Corner-backs, Safeties. All of these groups needed upgrades this off season. If even one of these groups became elite I'm sure the defense would've been much better.
So that brings me back to my initial point: Carr, Claiborne, Pool, Connor, Carter, Lissemore, Crawford. 2 Corner-backs, 1 Safety, 2 Inner Linebackers, 2 Defensive Linemen. I truly believe we need at least 5 of these players to be huge upgrades over what we had last season. We need to upgrade at least 2 of our position groups to cover up holes in the remaining two position groups.
How can we tell if they are an upgrade? I have some ideas on that, stay tuned for the next article . However at this time consider me cynical. It's hard enough to expect 3 players to be an upgrade? 5/7 of these players when only 1 of them has even been a bona fide starter? I wouldn't take those odds if I were a betting man. What do you think?