The 2014 Dallas Cowboys defense really, really sucks.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Football
Dallas Cowboys Defense 2014 Depth Chart: It's madness.
The chart on this page explains why:
"Have we ever seen anything like this? There are more players being tried in different positions late in the pre-season on the Cowboys defense than is normal for three or four seasons."
Having to move on from the best pass-rusher of his generation is never easy, but replacing him with Jeremy Mincey really makes it sting. Along with DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys also lost Jason Hatcher, who had the best season of his career, with the switch to Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 system.
Replacing Hatcher is Henry Melton, who still hasn’t fully recovered from a torn ACL, and, oh yeah, is coming off a torn ACL. In Chicago, Melton showed that he can be a very good rusher as a three-technique tackle in Marinelli’s defense, but he did most of that damage while working next to Julius Peppers. George Selvie, the Cowboys’ other starting defensive end, isn’t quite that guy.
Usually, a line either falls on the side of being a smaller group that can get after the passer (the Rams) or a bigger group that can handle the run (the Jets). Somehow, the Cowboys are neither. They were 26th in adjusted sack rate last year — with Ware and Hatcher — while finishing 28th against the run. Marinelli might be the best defensive line coach of the last 20 years, but he’s got his hands full here.
The Cowboys finished 30th in defensive DVOA last year. That was with DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, who left in free agency for Denver and Washington, respectively. They had 17 of Dallas’s 34 sacks. That was with Sean Lee, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. That was with Orlando Scandrick, who is suspended for the first four games. And their top defensive draft pick, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, is on the IR-return list and won’t be around until Week 9 at the earliest. This, impossibly, is who the Cowboys are likely to start in their base defense against the 49ers in Week 1:DE George Selvie DT Nick Hayden DT Henry Melton DE Jeremy Mincey LB Bruce Carter LB Rolando McClain LB Justin Durant CB Brandon Carr CB Morris Claiborne S Barry Church S J.J. Wilcox
That’s not just the worst starting defense in football. It’s miles away from anybody else’s D for the worst in football. Dallas almost definitely has the worst set of defensive linemen and the worst linebackers, along with one of the five worst secondaries. In an attempt to emulate the wild success enjoyed by the Cowboys offense, Dallas has created a leadership mire by demoting former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, replacing him with former defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. As a CFL player from the late ’60s, Kiffin might actually be better served starting on Dallas’s defensive line.
We always talk about whether a quarterback is good enough to take his team to the Super Bowl. This is the opposite. I can’t think of a quarterback good enough to take this defense to the Super Bowl. The various players the Cowboys have assembled here have a chance to be the worst defense of this generation.
Defensive performance is far more random from year to year than offense is, so you could maybe piece together some random year when Marinelli revitalizes the defensive line and the Cowboys create some fluky amount of turnovers, but they recovered a league-high 67.6 percent of fumbles last year and still finished 30th in defensive DVOA. And that was with Ware, and Hatcher, and Lee …
Best-Case Scenario: Did you see that defensive depth chart?
Worst-Case Scenario: Jerry Jones blames a disastrous season on the Cowboys not drafting Johnny Manziel and trades a top-five pick to Cleveland to acquire him.
Washington Post: "The Cowboys’ defense is — for lack of a better phrase — not good. They allowed the second-most yards per play last season (6.1), saw DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher leave via free agency and have the following defensive players either injured or suspended."
The one piece of good news: Dallas is adding Michael Sam to the practice squad.