Whether it was the hiring of Dan Quinn, or putting a priority on bringing in players via free agency and the draft who could step in and help, the Dallas Cowboys have upgraded their defense significantly in the offseason.
From the defensive front, to the secondary, the Cowboys are much improved on the defensive side of the ball through the first five weeks of the 2021 season. After suffering through an abysmally bad defense last year, the Cowboys probably couldn’t be happier with how things are going so far.
The Cowboys have a second-year cornerback, Trevon Diggs, currently playing like a man possessed, leading the league in interceptions (six). And, they also have a rookie who is equally as dominant as a linebacker or defensive end in Micah Parsons. These two are arguably among the best at their given positions so far this year.
With all eyes on Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons, the way the Dallas Cowboys run defense has performed to date has somehow gone a little bit unnoticed. It may even surprise you to learn this is a unit who is currently fifth in the league against the run, giving up a measly 79.4 yards on the ground per game.
For a unit that was gashed on the ground last year, this defensive turnaround, especially against the run, is nothing short of amazing. Add in the fact a lot of “no name” defensive lineman are largely responsible for this turnaround and it’s even more impressive.
Other than Neville Gallimore, the defensive front for the Dallas Cowboys was completely made over during the offseason. An elbow injury has sidelined Gallimore so far this season, but despite that the additions of Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins via free agency, and Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna via the draft, are playing extremely well without him.
While the Cowboys defensive line deserves the majority of the credit for their success shutting down an opponent’s running game this year, the offense probably has a lot of to do with that as well. Because of their high-octane, pick-your-poison offensive firepower, Dallas’ opponents have all but had to abandon the run this year in order to try to keep pace.
Rushing attempts through Week 5 against the Cowboys
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14)
- Los Angeles Chargers (19)
- Philadelphia Eagles (12)
- Carolina Panthers (24)
- New York Giants (25)
As you can see, not a single team the Dallas Cowboys have played so far this year has really committed themselves to the run. That’s difficult to do when you’re facing a team who can easily put up 30+ points a game. That’s not to say Dallas’ run defense hasn’t been really good, but rather to point out there are other factors to take into consideration.
Whatever is contributing to the Cowboys having one of the better run defenses this year doesn’t really matter as long as they can remain consistent. If they can do that, with the offense they have, this team could rack up a lot of wins this season. It’s something to keep and eye on as the season progresses.