Ernie Sims #59 of the Dallas Cowboys tries to tackle Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 10, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans won the game 49-17.
Despite last Sunday’s 32-point loss in New Orleans, I will not share in pretending that Rob Ryan is a defensive genius along the lines of Tom Landry.
Nor however, with a 10-game body of work, will I share in Jason Garrett’s blind faith in Monte Kiffin.
The Cowboys are horrible on defense this season. The Cowboys were horrible on defense last season. The Cowboys haven’t had a decent defense – not just coincidentally – since their last playoff appearance in 2009.
In that season they allowed 28 touchdowns and a total of 250 points.
This season, with six games remaining, the Cowboys have already surrendered 31 touchdowns and 258 points.
Despite those gruesomely gaudy numbers, Garrett was doing his best to prop up his beleaguered defensive coordinator at Valley Ranch on Tuesday.
“He has done a lot of positive things,” Garrett said of Kiffin just two days after the Cowboys’ defense surrendered a franchise-record 625 yards and 40 first downs in the loss to the Saints. “ … I have the utmost confidence in Kiffin and the defense … ”
Give Garrett credit for not cracking. Even in the face of historically horrendous defensive numbers he sticks to the script of “it’s a process” and “gotta get better in all three phases.” At this point, anything else would be perceived – inside and outside the locker room – as panic.
His consistency, however, doesn’t change the fact that these Cowboys are going nowhere fast because they are the worst defense in the history of this proud franchise. Twice in three weeks they allowed 600+ yards. They’ve surrendered point totals of 51 and 49. They are dead last in the NFL in yards allowed at a whopping 440 per game. They’re last in pass defense, 28th in run defense and … scary to think where they’d be without their second-most takeaways (22).
Kiffin’s famed “Tampa 2” scheme was sold to us on the platform of creating turnovers. Done. But the injuries have plagued the defense from Day 1 of training camp back in Oxnard. The Cowboys were counting on consistent production from … Jay Ratliff, Tyrone Crawford, Ben Bass, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, DeMarcus Ware, Morris Claiborne, J.J. Wilcox, Sean Lee and Justin Durant. Each of them will miss all or a significant chunk of the season.
I just don’t see how it gets better. The Cowboys worked out 16 players at Valley Ranch but apparently aren’t sold on Michael Huff or Ed Reed to bolster their secondary. So, get used to it.
These Cowboys (258) will threaten the franchise record for most points allowed in a season (436 in ‘10). They (253) will smash the mark for first downs surrendered (321 in ‘89). And they’re on pace to be the first defense to give up more than 7,000 yards in a season, in a franchise that has never given up more than 5,687 (’12).
Sorry, coach, but I don’t see how “utmost confidence” wedges its way into any of those numbers,
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.