The Cowboys will have a top 10 defense of the NFL in 2012. Plain ans simple. It WILL happen. I had my doubts, but after seeing the first team defense play against Oakland and San Diego, I thought more about it, and I am as positive as ever. In fact, I firmly believe they will even be able to be a top 8. Here's why offenses should fear the second coming of the Doomsday Defense:
It all start with Mr. Ware upfront. It is a general consensus that Ware is the NFL's best pass rusher. He is an asset to the defense and will be a cornerstone for 2012. With him drawing away 2 and sometimes 3 blockers just to shut him down (which they don't do) it makes it so much easier for other D-Line players to get to the QB. Guys like Jat Ratliff, Sean Lissemore, and Tyrone Crawford will get 1-1 chances against O-Line guys. Throw in the new-look secondary which will (hopefully) make the QB hold the ball just a tad longer, and Dallas will rack up sacks. And not only will the players nex to D-Ware get sacks; you have to remember that Ware often gets to the QB himself. Add up 18-20 sacks from Ware, 1-1 for other dangerous rushers such as Crawford, Lissemore, Ratliff and Spencer, the new secondary forcing the QB to make more reads, and the Cowboys should finish with one of the top pass rushing units in the NFL.
Sean Lee and Bruce Carter are the future of a spectacular linebacking corps for the Dallas Cowboys. Lee is a stud, as he showed last year. He attacks the ball not only when the carrier had it, but when it's in the air. He's a pure form tackler and can stop almost anyone. He's as solid as they get in the NFL and will be a top tier LB in 2012. Bruce Carter is also a great LB. He had the tools in 2011 to be a 1st round pick, but an injury made him available for the Cowboys in the 2nd round. He has had a year to get to know the playbook, and is performing very well in practice and has the speed and power to shut down both the run and pass game. He can cover tight ends and has top end speed. He may start slow, but he has great partners in crime alongside him with Lee and Connor. He will be a strength of the LB unit. Dan Connor brings his own recipe into this mix. He's a sure tackler who knows how to hit and stop the run. In case Carter can't make it happen early on, Connor will be there to support him. He will only add to what is already one of the best linebacker squads in all of football.
The defensive line is finally a solid piece. Jay Ratliff is a great NT and anchors the line. With able veterans in Hatcher and Spears, and great rotational players pushing to start in Crawford, Geathers, and Lissemore, the line should stay fresh and strong throughout games. This means more intense play throughout, and as I mentioned, with D Ware and the secondary helping out, the line should be a tough unit that will make opposing QB's uncomfortable.
For those of you who saw the Cowboys-Chargers game on Saturday night, there is no need to explain. For those who didn't, sorry but you missed out on Carr proving his 50 mil. dollar worth. The guy was able to terrorize the San Diego pass game, one which features a great QB in Phillip Rivers. He had two interceptions in just 2 qtrs of the game. He had great coverage throughout and showed elite closing speed when he made his picks, which is hopefully a preview of a ballhawking season. He already has a history of being a great CB playing alongside Brandon Flowers. He now brings his skills to Dallas, where they are sorely needed. He will be a threat to QB's and is able to take away half the field in the run game. He is an elite player that will be a key piece for Dallas in 2012. 50 mil was overpaying Carr? I think it was a bargain.
The Cowboys have trusted Sensabaugh as their starting safety for seasons. He seemed like a guy who could lock down a starting spot and help the D. He did. However, the spot next to him was the problem. The Cowboys brought in guys, but never found a solid player that was a liability. But now they have. Barry Church is a hard worker who brings strong tackling skill to the field. The Cowboys have missed it, but fixing a hole isn't all he does. He brings the dimension of a strong run game presence as well. He can tackle like a LB but had fluidity of a safety.
Ryan had this year to officially instill his program upon the Cowboys. They will now have the ability to have exotic blitzes, and Ryan is known for having a great defensive mind. With Rob Ryan's scheme and Dallas' talented personnel, the possibilities for Dallas will be unlimited in 2012.
Let the Doomsday Defense return.