The Dallas Cowboys’ defense has been subject to almost as much criticism as quarterback Tony Romo. Almost. OK, actually it’s still not close — nobody in the NFL takes as much flak from the media and public as Romo — but there are a lot of people who have come to realize that Dallas’ mediocrity over the past few years has as much (or more) to do with their porous D as their much-maligned QB.
But two games into this season, America’s Team looks like it’s getting some of its swagger back on defense. From FOX Sports Southwest:
A year ago the Cowboys had the worst defense in the league, in terms of yards allowed, and predictions for this season were even gloomier.
Yet two games into the 2014 season and the Cowboys find themselves ranked 12th in the NFL in total defense, and the players think they can be even better.
“We’re just so tired of hearing about the defense that we had last year,” cornerback Sterling Moore said Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “Obviously, that’s going to be there, it’s in the record books. But we want to change that and say, yeah, we have a lot of the same guys, the same staff, but we’re not the same defense. We’ve kind of turned ourselves around and want to continue that.”
The Cowboys’ defense seemed to draw a line in the sand at halftime of the opener against San Francisco. The Cowboys trailed 28-3 at the time, but much of that was the fault of turnovers by the offense.
The Dallas D held the 49ers scoreless in the second half, then held the Titans scoreless in the first half of last Sunday’s 26-10 win.
Moore credits defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for giving the secondary “more freedom to play the way we want to play,” and says Dallas is playing faster.
And the Cowboys have done it without starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is under suspension by the NFL for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. But Scandrick could have his punishment shortened if the league changes its drug policy as expected.
“It would mean a lot,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said of Scandrick’s return. “You’re talking about a guy who can blitz, cover, and he actually has a real good motor on the field and he has a knack for making plays. That would definitely be a great positive to have Orlando back. Right now, we’re just holding it down for him, doing the best that we can do.”