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Dallas Cowboys Team As Viewed From The Outside: Offense Good, Defense Bad

How do fans and writers for other teams view the Cowboys?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When you follow the Dallas Cowboys in an obsessive way like we do, it's hard to get out of the "Cowboys bubble" and see our team in an unbiased way. Of course, just because someone isn't a fan of the team doesn't mean they won't have bias, in fact, many of them have an anti-Cowboys bias. We've presented some of those views on these pages recently.

So when our sister blog Field Gulls decided to take a look at the 2014 philosophies of all 32 NFL franchises, I was intrigued. Field Gulls does a fantastic job of analyzing the Seahawks and some of their writers also do work on the SB Nation general NFL page, so they have experience in viewing all 32 teams. And for the most part, I don't see any institutional bias against the Cowboys. With that in mind, here is how they view the 2014 Cowboys in a nutshell:

Dallas Cowboys - "Score 30 Points Per Game. Shouldn't Be Hard. Give Murray His Touches. Pray To God On Defense"

To the common football fan, Tony Romo is amazingly misunderstood. When he chucks a late-game interception, the loss is all on him, and he's THE WURST QWARTERBAK EVR. In reality, he's one of the game's best, and Dez Bryant is a tenacious specimen who plays angry every snap. Throw in Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams, Gavin Escobar and a rock-solid offensive line, and it's easy to envision the Cowboys scoring...a lot. On defense, well, the defense is an utter disaster. DeMarcus Ware plays for the Broncos. Sean Lee's out for the year. To the delight of the aforementioned football fan, this polarized offensive / defensive dynamic should lead to shootouts galore.

I can't get too upset about that analysis. On offense, they've got it right on. They realize that Tony Romo is a big strength of the team and is one of the better QBs in the league. It's nice they also recognize that the offensive line is growing into a dominant force.

When discussing the defense, they can be excused for calling them an utter disaster...last year. But what bugs me is everybody talking about DeMarcus Ware playing in Denver next year. What I don't think they realize, and we really didn't realize, is that Ware was not cut out for a 4-3 defensive end. He's better standing up, and he's better not taking full-on shots from 300 lb. tackles every play. Outside observers act like somehow Ware kept us from being a total and utter disaster last year. Hardly the truth. Ware had four sacks through the first three games, but then the injuries came. He had two sacks the rest of the year. He just wasn't the same player last year.

Even going back to 2012, Ware was starting to accumulate the nagging injuries and ended up with 11.5 sacks. The same pattern emerged that year too, he racked up 9 sacks through the first eight games, then only 2.5 sacks the rest of the year. The constant pounding is wearing down Ware. His tackles for 2012 and 2013 were the lowest of his career. It's entirely possible that Ware could bounce back in Denver, but anybody who thinks Ware of the last few years was the Ware we knew from his prime are fooling themselves. So could a young, fresh DeMarcus Lawrence provide more for Dallas in 2014 than DeMarcus Ware did in 2013? It's entirely possible.

I'm not trying to say that the Cowboys defense is all of a sudden going to rise up and be Doomsday. But what I'm trying to say is that last season was full of guys playing injured, playing in a system they just learned, playing without finding any continuity with their teammates. And the majority of that was along the defensive line. We may not have Jason Hatcher or DeMarcus Ware this year, but having younger, healthier guys who are acquainted with the system could mean more consistency of a pass rush. And in a league that is pass-happy, that means everything.

Yes, we might end up in plenty of shootouts, we may have to cover for the defense on occasion. But it's not inconceivable that this defense will play better, even though the personnel may not have any superstars.

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