Inside the Playbook" series are mandatory reading for football fans.is a former safety in the NFL and currently writes for the National Football Post, where his "Players Page" and "
In today's edition of his Player's Page, Bowen reviews ten training camp questions from across the NFL, including the question that gives this post its title: "Do the Cowboys have the CBs to win the East?"
I’m a big fan of what Rob Ryan wants to do defensively down in Dallas and now he has two CBs that allow him to be even more aggressive in his play calling. The Cowboys spent big via free agency and the draft to pick up veteran Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne. Think blitz-man here, zero-coverage and seven (or even eight) man pressure schemes. When you have two CBs you can trust out on an island, it opens up the possibilities within the playbook to go after the QB. Claiborne has to develop quickly in camp, but I like the look of this Cowboys defense right now.
Rob Ryan's entire defense is predicated on pressure-based schemes. This is very different from what you would see from e.g. Tampa-2 teams that try to limit the big play with their zone-based schemes that try to force the ball to go underneath. The Cowboys are going to attack the line of scrimmage. But in Ryan's scheme you're not going to get anywhere without corners that can play both press and off-man, and occasionally join the pass rush as unannounced blitzers.
The Cowboys invested heavily in both free agency and the draft to get the types of corners Ryan needs to allow the defense to go after the QB and force him to make quick decisions with the football. Carr and Claiborne, as well as the additional depth Mike Jenkins will likely provide this year, will open up the Cowboys' defensive playbook.
Will it be enough for the Cowboys to challenge for the East?