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Cowboys news: Dallas defense bludgeoned again, Demarcus Lawrence quotes

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In one telling stat, the Cowboys are off to their worst start in franchise history - Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports

The Boys’ defense has been atrocious - but you already knew that.

It’s alarming that the best player in Nolan’s scheme has been the guy who spent the past four years out of the NFL. It’s equally alarming that Lawrence, who is the highest-paid defensive player, has been allowed to become the focal point of offenses and has been held without a sack this season. It’s also concerning that Nolan’s defense is supposed to thrive on takeaways but has one interception through four games — all while safety Xavier Woods appears to be regressing.

Perhaps nothing is more problematic than highly paid linebacker Jaylon Smith looking overmatched and out of place in coverage under Nolan.

This is the kind of thing that has made Dallas look historically vulnerable to the strength of its opposition. It was no secret the Falcons and Seahawks were going to throw the football like crazy. And this weekend, it was abundantly clear that Cleveland’s offense was predicated on the run. The Cowboys could stop neither, despite game planning for precisely those strengths.

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: Would swap historic numbers for wins - Todd Archer, ESPN

Dak Prescott is not satisfied with the singularity of his own stat line.

In his past two games, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has 974 passing yards, the most over a two-game span in NFL history.

The Cowboys lost both games, including Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, 49-38, at AT&T Stadium to fall to a disappointing 1-3 on the season.

“Not at all,” said Prescott, when asked if the passing record mattered to him. “I’d give all those yards back for a different record. I care about one stat and that’s to win, so when we don’t do that no other stats matter.”

DeMarcus Lawrence calls Cowboys’ defensive effort in 49-38 loss ‘soft’ - Grant Gordon, NFL.com

An adequate label from Tank in the postgame presser.

Though the Dallas Cowboys’ offense is seemingly soaring along with plenty of points and lofty numbers, the defense is hardly following suit with its play. It’s all added up to a 1-3 record and another disappointing start in Big D.

Thus, for all the superlatives one could throw at the Dak Prescott-driven offense, it’s arduous to come up with anything complimentary to describe the defense. Demarcus Lawrence surely could not.

“In my own words, I’d call it soft. We’ve got to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Lawrence told reporters Sunday, via the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. “I call this [expletive] soft.”

Dallas’ 49-38 loss to the Browns on Sunday was the third game in a row in which it allowed 38 or more points. That’s happened just once before and it was in a winless 1960 season, per NFL Research. It was also the third straight week in which the Cowboys allowed their opponent to score a season-high in points, with Cleveland’s 49-point drop the worst showing for the Dallas defense yet.

Odell Beckham is forever the Cowboys killer - Peter Botte, NY Post

Ever since “the catch”, OBJ has always seemed to have the Cowboys’ number.

Some of Odell Beckham’s most memorable performances with the Giants came at the expense of the Dallas Cowboys.

But even OBJ’s famed one-handed grab in 2014 may have been replaced on his personal highlight reel by his game-sealing 50-yard touchdown run Sunday in Cleveland’s 49-38 win at AT&T Stadium.

Beckham got into the end zone three times, also including a 37-yard TD reception on a flea-flicker from fellow receiver Jarvis Landry in the first quarter and a 4-yard grab from quarterback Baker Mayfield in the second.

“I just want to be able to help in any way I can, be able to be efficient and help this team find ways to win. That’s really what it boils down to,” said Beckham, who has eight touchdowns in eight career games against Dallas. “I have a lot of history with the Cowboys, my family’s from here and everything, I don’t know if it’s something about being in this atmosphere or this stadium.

“It’s not like it’s not always like that, but I just want to be great and find ways to help us win.”

Eatman: Defense Forcing Dak, Offense To Be Perfect - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

The defense is putting a load of pressure on the offense. .

For the first time in NFL history, a quarterback passed for over 450 yards in three straight games.

On Sunday, Dak Prescott set another personal-best with 506 passing yards on 58 attempts, another career-high.

And guess what? He wasn’t perfect. He actually threw a pick and fumbled once.

The Cowboys offense scored 38 points, and it certainly wasn’t perfect, turning the ball over twice and another time on downs.

And that’s the sad part of this whole season right now – the Cowboys offense has to be damn-near perfect to win games.

The Cowboys’ defense has identity issues, and they start with a coaching staff that’s running out of excuses - Michael Gehlken, DMN

Everyone wants to know if Mike Nolan can straighten out this defense.

After the loss, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence declined to criticize the defense’s scheme directly. That is not his position to judge, he said. And he has plenty enough on his plate, areas of his own game that he is focused on elevating.

But when calling the group “soft” and saying that the unit is not attacking opponents “at all,” there seemed to be acknowledgment that the Cowboys’ problems on defense are deeper than simple poor angles or missed tackles. There is a larger issue of identity.

Addressing that goes beyond the players on the field.

“When your team performs and makes similar mistakes,” McCarthy said, “four weeks is a pattern. So, this pattern needs to stop. That starts with leadership. That will be the focus come tomorrow.”

McCarthy and his staff deserved some slack for unconventional circumstances.

Not anymore.

How the Cowboys look to begin October is beyond defense.

Scout’s Take: Pointing Fingers Starts With Players - Bucky Brooks, Dallas Cowboys.com

The blame game.

This one is on the players.

It is easy to pin the blame on Mike McCarthy and his staff after watching the Cowboys drop another game due to a collection of silly mistakes and miscues. But pointing the finger at the coaches would absolve 53 players who deserve criticism for their effort. The Cowboys are playing harder or smarter than their opponents, and the losses will continue to mount until they closer attention to the details. McCarthy can harp on this point in each and every practice or team meeting but the players need to heed his message but play up to the standard. Right now, they are an underachieving outfit and everyone must do a little soul searching to see if they can find a way to play better on game day.

Can Mike Nolan fix the defense?

The million-dollar question floating around Cowboys Nation revolves around Nolan’s ability to fix a defense that’s given up at least 38 points in each of the past three games. The Cowboys are unable to stop the run, pass or trick plays, and their overall effort has been embarrassing. From missed assignment and blown coverage to a lack of discipline and attention to detail, the Cowboys’ defense looks like a Pop Warner outfit at times. Despite having a number of Pro Bowl-caliber players at his disposal, Nolan hasn’t been able to get this unit to play to their individual and collective potential. The veteran defensive coordinator will need to lean on his experience and wisdom to craft a plan that will enable a struggling collection of defenders to play fast and free on the field.

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