Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: How To Fix The Defense?

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Latest Cowboys headlines: Garrett says Cowboys have to improve on defense; Why Cowboys end-of-draft matters; 16-team playoffs an option?

Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys have played well on offense, we just have to improve our defense | Jon Machota, DMN
Machota notes that the Cowboys have steadily declined on defense under Garrett's tenure as a head coach, ranking 14th defensively in 2011, 16th in 2012 and last in 2013. Garrett says the Cowboys have to improve on defense, and while the loss of DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are a heavy burden, it also allows the team to build around a defensive core.

"Now we have to make the next best decisions, get some younger guys in there to replace them, rely on the leadership of guys like Sean Lee, Brandon Carr, some of the other guys. Those are good football players. We feel like those are the core of our defense right now. We have to get better on defense. Hopefully we’ll do that this coming year."

Number Crunching: Why Cowboys End-Of-Draft Matters " - Mike Fisher, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Mike Fisher takes the media and fans to task for downplaying the value of the three compensatory picks "that are now part of the Dallas asset package." He goes on to quote some numbers published by BTB's Tom Ryle on why those late picks can be valuable.

The higher-priced, higher-round budding superstars — the Tyron Smiths and the Dez Bryants acquired up top — are gold. But these seventh-round and later guys? Smart NFL teams mine successfully for those precious metals, too.

Compensatory picks could mean a lot - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Watkins writes that the Cowboys have "consistently excelled" at finding UDFAs, and proceeds to run down a list of the most recent UDFA successes the team has enjoyed.

No pro days for Jason Garrett - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
In three seasons as head coach, Garrett has attended just two pro days, one at USC and one at Alabama. And despite the title of this article, it's not actually clear that Garrett won't be visiting a pro day this year.

Failed Completions 2013 - Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar offers us Failed Completions: "Any complete passes that fail to gain enough yardage to count as a successful play based on these guidelines: 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, or 100 percent on third/fourth down." Joe Flacco, who signed a $120.6 million contract just a year ago that made him the highest-paid player in NFL history, is the God-Emperor of Failed Completions.

Time for an NFL Sweet 16
Greg Bedard argues that eliminating the first-week byes and going to eight teams from each conference will provide the best and truest champion in true March Madness style.

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Scheduled Visits: The Cowboys do not have a private workout scheduled with Johnny Manziel. They will not have him in for a pre-draft visit. "At this time," as a source said, that circus is not coming to town. One player who does warrant some headlines because the Cowboys are interested in him is cornerback Brandon Dixon out of Northwest Missouri State. Dixon had a private workout with the Cowboys yesterday, and is currently projected as a seventh rounder or priority free agent.

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Also, just because:

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