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Cowboys news: Fixing the Cowboys run defense is a high priority

Plus other Cowboys news and notes from around the league.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

8) How Does This Run Defense Get Fixed? -

The Cowboys defensive success will hinge on the improvement of their run defense.

FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys had their share of problems all over the defense in 2021, but the biggest issue was stopping the run.

They ranked 31st against the run last year and the schedule seems rather loaded with running backs again this year.

The Cowboys will see the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara and Josh Jacobs – to name a few.

So how does it get better for the Cowboys? Our staff writers try to figure it out.

8) How Does This Run Defense Get Fixed?

Mickey Spagnola: With Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator. With bigger, more talented bodies at defensive tackle, including veteran Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins, the return of Trysten Hill, a more experienced Neville Gallimore and the addition of big-bodied sixth-round pick Quinton Bohanna (6-4, 327). Just seems as if this defense is much more organized than it was last year, with guys being put in positions that better suit their talents. This also pertains to the linebacker position, with the addition of first-rounder Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch’s return to health. Since Parsons hasn’t played a down of football, nor has second-rounder Jabril Cox, LVE is the best linebacker on the team. Against the run and against the pass. Quinn will better utilize him, put Jaylon Smith in more favorable roles and have more matchup opportunities with the addition of Keanu Neal. Plus, come on, how does the NFL’s 11th-ranked run defense in 2019, with little change on the defensive line, end up 31st and second worst in franchise history one year later? Quinn must make a difference.

Sleeper Addition: DE Tarell Basham - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star

The Cowboys are hoping that Basham can come in and help make an impact along the defensive line.

It was clear after finishing 31st against the run and 20th in sacks last season that the Dallas Cowboys had to get better in the trenches on defense. They did quite a bit of work on the interior during free agency and the NFL Draft with the additions of Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins, Osa Odighizuwa, and Quinton Bohanna. Chauncey Golston, taken in the third round, added some depth on the interior and the edge with his versatile skill set.

There was another defensive addition on the line of scrimmage during the offseason that’s flying under the radar, and that’s Tarell Basham. Signed back in March to a two-year, $5.5 million deal, Basham brings versatility and experience to a pretty talented edge rush group for the Cowboys.

Basham’s name isn’t foreign around the city of Dallas though. After winning the MAC Defensive Player of the Year (2016) during his senior season at Ohio in which he amassed 11.5 sacks, Basham came in for a visit to the team facility ahead of the 2017 draft. Instead, the Cowboys went with Taco Charlton, and the marriage only lasted two seasons.

3 biggest threats to the Cowboys NFC East hopes - Riley Donald, The Landry Hat

Many believe the Cowboys are the front runners in the division, but there are some things that could stop them from taking home the NFC East title.

The Dallas Cowboys are the favorites to take the NFC East crown in the upcoming 2021 NFL season. That according to WynnBET via, who have the Cowboys at +135 to win it. Dallas truly has the division right in front of them.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is healthy, the defense has had an immense amount of resources poured into it, and they finally have an in-person offseason as opposed to the virtual offseason of 2020. While the division is wide open, let’s look at some things that could pose a threat to a divisional crown.

#1 – Dallas Cowboys’ Health

The entirety of the 2020 season was marred by the biggest of injuries to Prescott. While that took the air out of the team, there were many other injuries in play. The offensive line, a staple of the Cowboys, was a revolving door of players at times. This didn’t help quarterbacks Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert in an already tough situation.

Having a cohesive line provides so much to this team. It allows Prescott to stay upright and capitalize with his arsenal of weapons at wide receiver that can create mismatches nearly every down.

Kentucky DT Quinton Bohanna is the plug Cowboys need to elevate defense - Mike Crum, Cowboys Wire

Since being drafted, Bohanna has seen himself become a fan favorite as Cowboys Nation hopes he can be the 1-technique they’ve been missing.

Going into the 2020 season, the Mike Nolan-led defense had extensive plans to be multiple. The plan was to show different fronts so the QB wouldn’t know what’s coming as was often the valid complaint lobbed at the previous regime’s Cover 3 defense.

While the plan was unsuccessful, it’s obvious the team believed that under new leadership and with new, better fitting personal, the multiple-fronts plan can work. The drafting of Kentucky’s Quinton Bohanna, No. 98, is proof that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is determined to keep with that tactic. Here is a look at the first true zero-tech NT ever drafted in the Will McClay regime, and the only player the Cowboys have who truly fits that odd-man front role.

Dallas Cowboys: Why Mike McCarthy wins Coach of the Year - Dinky Kearney, Sport DFW

Coach McCarthy’s development in year two will be a big story line going into the season. See why he may be a coach of the year candidate.

The Dallas Cowboys finished the 2020 season with a disappointing 6-10 record. The primary reasoning for their lackluster record wasn’t an untalented team, or even poor coaching, it was the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott to a season-ending ankle injury.

But critics didn’t just stop there, however. As expected, the criticism eventually found its way to current head coach Mike McCarthy. Despite all the injuries, and the fact the defense tried a scheme change in the middle of a global pandemic, the critics blamed McCarthy. They started rumors that Coach Mac could be “one and done” as the Cowboys head coach. Wow!

Even with all of that nonsense, Coach Mac had the Cowboys in position to still win the embarrassing NFC East with a losing record. This team was “still in it” until the end. Think about that.

Why Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy could easily win Coach of the Year

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