Call it the triumph of low expectations. Or more appropriately, call the Cowboys a decent defense.
Over the summer owner Jerry Jones promised the Cowboys’ defense would be better in 2014 merely because “it can’t get any worse.” Nonetheless, without DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick we all cringed that last season’s 415 yards per game could indeed get worse.
But through the 1-1 start made possible by Sunday’s 26-10 win in Tennessee, Rod Marinelli’s unit has been shockingly average. Which, according to pre-season doom-‘n-gloom, makes them way above average.
Against the Titans Henry Melton tipped a pass at the line and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore and Brandon Carr all broke up passes. And middle linebacker Rolando McClain – Lee’s replacement – was all over the field and sealed the deal with an acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter.
The results? The Cowboys have lopped a full 100 yards off their average from last season. In two games they’ve only allowed five of 21 drives to cover 50+ yards. And through two weeks they’re ranked 13th, up from last year’s 32nd.
“We all know the challenges that our defense has,” Jones said after Sunday’s win in Nashville. “They can be good players and good athletes, but they still have to get in there and play together. Our coaches are doing that. Guys are into it. They know the challenge. I heard some of them talking before the game, ‘We’re right there, guys. We’re close. We’re right there.’ The team is coming together.”
So far, so good. At least, so far not so bad.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.