Coming into the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys had many unanswered questions as to how well their defense would perform with no preseason game preparations. With a quarter of the NFL season already completed, everyone now have a clear answer as to how weak the Cowboys defense really is.
So much was anticipated from the Cowboys with newly appointed head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. However, things have not gone the Cowboys way when it comes to their defense. The Cowboys are now 1-3 for the first time since 2010, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The Cowboys defense already has given up 138 points in just four games. Last Sunday’s game was embarrassing to watch, as the defense gave up 49 points against the Cleveland Browns at home. The Cowboys allowed 508 total yards to the Browns and allowed a franchise record of 307 rushing yards, USA Today reports. The Cowboys also allowed more than 38 points in three consecutive games for the first time in franchise history, according to the Bleacher Report.
The offense is a whole different story. In Week 2, the Cowboys gave up 20 points in just the first quarter to the Atlanta Falcons. Dak Prescott responded by putting up 450 passing yards and three rushing touchdowns to beat the Falcons 40-39. During the game with the Browns, Prescott had an even better game, putting up 502 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Unfortunately, his effort was not enough to beat the Browns as they fell short 49-38.
The performance by the defense was not only a disappointment for the Cowboys team, but to their fans as well.
“We gotta hold ourselves to a higher standard” said Lawrence according to the Dallas Cowboys. “We gotta play as one and I don’t feel like we are holding ourselves accountable, including myself. So, I call the s*soft, and we will get better from it”.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan also weighed in on the Cowboys lousy defensive performance in their last four games. “Our systems were not in place when we all began” said Nolan to the Bleacher Report. “But nobody looks at that. Neither do we when it comes to win and losses. It’s about winning games. However you can manage that, we need to do a better job of it.”
The question Cowboys fans are asking themselves is “Who is to blame for the Cowboys’ awful start to the season?”. For years Cowboys fans blamed the coaching methods of Jason Garret for the team’s horrible defense. Now that Garret is gone, who is there left to blame for the Cowboys’ poor defense?
Definitely not Prescott. Prescott has thrown for 450 passing yards for three consecutive games, which is the most in franchise history, according to Bleacher Report. Prescott is putting up MVP numbers so far and possibly his best start to a season in his career. However, it is frustrating to appreciate individual success if the team is not putting up the wins.
Jerry Jones has received backlash for loading up the Cowboys’ roster in offensive stars rather than defensive stars. Jones and the Cowboys drafted wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the 2020 NFL draft back in April. Granted Lamb has been producing good numbers for the Cowboys, especially last Sunday when he put up 79 yards and two touchdown catches, Cowboys fans would have expected them draft a star defensive player to help the struggling defensive line.
Mike McCarthy has also received a lot of the blame for the Cowboys poor start. When asked, McCarthy ripped his team’s performance in the last four games and that he will receive all the blame from fans for their poor start.
Most angry Mike McCarthy has sounded since becoming Cowboys coach: “It ultimately falls at my feet…What I don’t like is the pattern of the 4 games. The points are outrageous, time of possession is totally lopsided and we’re minus-7 in the turnover ratio. Not a winning formula.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 4, 2020
The Cowboys only stars in the defense are defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and linebacker Jaylon Smith, whose performance has significantly dropped in the last few seasons. During preseason workouts the Cowboys lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a torn quadriceps. He was later released by the Cowboys in injury waivers.
Ultimately what the Cowboys need to do to is fix the performance by the defense and better their leadership on the team. Having a defense that does not help out the offense will not win games in the NFL.
McCarthy expects better leadership from the team come the next 12 games of the season. McCarthy said he will work on fixing up the defense, if not all the blame will be put on him.
“We need to do a better job bringing our preparation to the performances, and that starts with me. When your team performs and makes similar mistakes, four weeks is a pattern. This pattern needs to stop. And that starts with leadership” said McCarthy to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys were expected to have beaten both the Browns and the Rams this season. Though still the favorites to win the lopsided NFC East, the Cowboys must figure out their early season woes before it gets too late.
The next opponent for the Cowboys will be the winless New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on Sunday at 4:25 EST.