The Dallas Cowboys defense is much improved from a year ago, and a lot of that has to do with their mentality, according to safety and defensive captain Barry Church.
This year, more any year in recent memory, the team is swarming to the ball, which--as Church explains--takes pressure off the individual.
“It has to do with less solo tackles than better tackling,” Church said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Last year, there were a lot of solo tackles, a lot of open-field tackles. Guys had to make unbelievable plays. This year, a lot of us are running to the ball and there’s two or three guys at the ball carrier instead of just one guy. That’s what’s got our missed tackles down from last year.”
The Cowboys defense isn’t a world-beating unit, but compared to last year, it can feel like one for Dallas fans. They currently rank 13th in the NFL in total defense, a far cry from their historically awful 2013.
Obviously, a lot of this comes down to tackling.
“We missed a couple last week, though, but keeping people in the chute and trying to force an offense to execute all the way down field,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “When we’re doing that, something’s going to swing in our favor during the drive--a takeaway, a penalty, hopefully a sack, something like that to stop the drive. So force them to execute and don’t beat ourselves. We’ve done a solid job of that.”
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