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Cowboys Defense Finds More Trouble; Justin Durant Expected To Join Sean Lee On Sidelines

From bad to worse, the Cowboys defense continues to crumble.

Ronald Martinez

Last year, the Cowboys defense was racked with injury and led to a debate about whether injury or Rob Ryan was more at fault for a poor performance. In the end, the Cowboys decided to go with Ryan as the cause and canned him. It looks like they will have to make the same decision at the end of this season unless things drastically change. Monte Kiffin has to be concerned for his job security this season since injuries won't be used as an excuse, at least they weren't last year.

Earlier we reported on Sean Lee likely missing 3-4 weeks because of his hamstring injury. When he came out of the game, the Cowboys inserted Justin Durant into his spot. Now Durant looks likely to be out for the same amount of time with the same injury. By the end of the game the Cowboys' linebacker corps was Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims and Kyle Bosworth. That's just not going to get it done going forward.

Don't forget, injury has also robbed Dallas of linebacker DeVonte Holloman for over a month now. The rookie showed a real knack for the football earlier in the year and seemed to come up big at crucial times. The Cowboys could definitely use his return after the bye week.

Another guy Dallas could use back in the lineup is safety J.J. Wilcox. His replacement, Jeff Heath, showed some early promise in the few games he's played, but he was exposed by the Saints and looked like a player out of his depth. Whether it was tackling or in pass coverage, Heath was a major liability for the Dallas defense.

The absence of Jason Hatcher was keenly felt by the Cowboys defense. DeMarcus Ware, playing on one leg, provided the few instances of pass rush and the only sack in the game for Dallas. Drew Brees simply had too much time on many of his throws and the Cowboys secondary and linebackers paid the price. Hatcher's return should certainly help.

Finally, adding Morris Claiborne back in the mix could help strengthen the secondary. Rookie B.W. Webb hasn't been awful, but he has struggled some covering the slot, and really falls behind on crossing patterns. He still needs work.

Is there any hope for the Cowboys defense the rest of this season? Even the most committed optimist would have doubts on that.

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