Monday, August 1, 2011

The Defensive Line Is Complete

The Cowboys have managed to piece together their defensive line at a relative bargain by bringing back Marcus Spears and Jason Hatcher and signing Kenyon Coleman. Marcus Spears is a proven run stopper and Jason Hatcher has been a solid backup who get pressure the quarterback for the last few years. Adding Kenyon Coleman for depth makes sense because he has worked with Rob Ryan for the last two years in Cleveland.

I was thrilled when I heard the Cowboys had resigned Marcus Spears a few days ago. While Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher have been solid contributors at defensive end there has always been a noticeable difference when Spears is out of the game. My only concern about Spears is the fact that he has really battled injuries over the last couple of seasons. But when Spears is healthy it is very difficult to run to his side of the field.

I love the fact that the Cowboys brought Kenyon Coleman over from the Browns. His knowledge of the new defense will be invaluable. The defensive players have been talking about how many new defenses and schemes they have to learn in a very short period of time. Since Coleman is so familiar with the Rob Ryan defense he can essentially serve as an extra coach on the field to help the rest of the team learn the defense. And he started 14 games for the Browns last season so it isn't like he is some no name bench warmer coming to the team to ride the pine. He'll be part of the regular rotation in the defensive line.

The Cowboys have still not addressed the safety position in free agency but that has to be the next move to expect. Abram Elam has been talking with the Cowboys and would be very valuable in the same way that Kenyon Coleman is because Elam has played for Rob Ryan for the last 2 years as well. Not only would he be a huge upgrade over Alan Ball last season but he also will be able to help keep the secondary organized in their new complex scheme. I'm hoping this is the next piece of the puzzle to fall into place heading into the start of preseason games.


  1. I hear from ESPN Dallas chats that Church may actually be solid enough to start, but after the failled Ball experiment they may feel uncomfortable with it. I say bring in Abram Elam and use the preseason (maybe 2 games) to see if he can grow into the starting role through the season and if he is good enough to start now. Nice write up by the way! You always do great work!

  2. I am counting on Barry Church manning the strong safety spot but I'm not sure there is a starting caliber free safety on the roster right now. I'm hoping Abe Elam can be a short term solution to give AOA another year to develop.

  3. I think Dashon Goldston is the S we need (I know money will be an issue). He seems to be around the ball frequently (granted I don't watch the 49ers much), but he has a knack for stopping the run and has really active hands. He is also pretty rangey.

    I think Sensebaugh and Whitner are on the same level. Then Abe Elam.

    Obviously any of the three are an upgrade over Ball, but ideally a secondary with Whitner and Goldston would be money. Whitner, former first round pick, really hasn't been put into a position to fully blossom (at least I don't think). I understand the question comes down to money, but if it means a little more money for Whitner and/or Goldston, you take that chance.

    I also think the fans out there that think we are going to be .500 or just above are out of their mind. I am overly critical of the Cowboys, but last season we were in almost every game and if one or two calls went our way or if we played a little more disciplined, we win. Redskins, Saints, Vikings, Eagles, Giants, Titans, and Bears games we were in. That's a 7 game swing. Obviously you don't win all of those next season, but I think 10-6 and playoffs is realistic. The only team that I think truly has our number is the Packers. Outside of that, all the NFC games are winnable. Even this coming year, I think we'll split with the Eagles and sweep Redskins and Giants. I mean, this is a team that put up 40+ on the Giants last year with Kitna. Our offense and putting up 27 points a game isn't the problem. It is the discipline and impact plays. I think you see more of that this year.

    Also, signing two other safeties does not preclude Church for playing time. I've seen a lot of tape where Ryan employs three safeties instead of an extra corner in dime/nickel packages. I think Church gives us a lot of flexibility that we didn't have last year with Ball dropping back to CB.

    I know it's early, but Felix looks better in the first few practices compared to last year. I think Murray is a huge pick. It seems like he can leap 10 yards into the endzone. Barber scored many of those touchdowns a few years ago in that same fashion, not pounding it between the tackles. I think we deploy Murray in endzone situations. He just seems to have a knack for scoring.

    I like our team (predicated on getting one or two safeties outside Elam) from top to bottom. I like the energy, discipline, development, and creativity. Don't think it's a superbowl year, but I think we will watch some exciting football. Our coaching staff is head and shoulders above last year, even with many carry overs.


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