Will the 2017 edition of the Cowboys be better than the 2016 version?
That is a question that will have to be answered by the defense. With Doug Free being the obvious exception, the bulk of the Dallas Cowboys potent offense will return intact. Their counterparts on the other side of the line of scrimmage, on the other hand, have undergone a dramatic overhaul to alleviate the concerns of the past several seasons.
New additions to the defensive line and to the secondary were made via the draft. That means that the Cowboys are banking on a plethora of guys who were facing collegiate level competition just one year ago. That does raise some cause for concern. This fall the rookies will be testing their mettle against the best football players in the world.
With the departure of so many starters on defense during the free agency period, and the team bringing in no high-profile veteran replacements, it is obvious that they youth movement on defense is in full swing. The kids who were recently strolling around college campuses are going to be asked to stand and deliver right away.
This could be good or it could be bad.
On the plus side, the new guys are going to be working together as a unit from the start. The future of the Dallas defense will have an opportunity to gel immediately. Coach Marinelli and his staff will be able to focus their efforts on developing the whole as well as its individual parts at the same time. As a result, they will progress not only as individuals but collectively at the same time.
The negative is that there will be rookie mistakes; there always are. The fact that there will be so many rookies potentially on the field at once will compound the issues. There will be times when the defense is burned due to inexperience. That is to be expected as the ‘kids’ grow into men.
There will be times when we are going to be amazed with the playmaking ability of this defense; there will be times when we shake our heads in frustration. The Dallas defensive unit will be young and talented in 2017. Their success will be determined by how often the talent is on display vs. how often it is the youth that prevails.
What’s your assessment BTB? Will the Cowboys defense be an improvement over last year, or will it be up to the offense to carry the load once again?