The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Why Cowboys’ defense will be improved in 2013

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At Dallas News, I discussed one aspect of the Cowboys’ new defense that I like.

The Cowboys’ defense played horribly for much of the 2012 season. Whether it was due to a rash of injuries or poor defensive play-calling, the ‘Boys ranked 24th in points allowed, net-YPA allowed, andYPC allowed. They also checked in with a league-low seven interceptions.

While I’m not thrilled about Monte Kiffin’s age, I think his overarching defensive philosophy is going to benefit the Cowboys in a big way. The reason is that the Cowboys seem to be emphasizing speedover weight, switching to a 4-3 defense and loading up on undersized talent. Being undersized can be an advantage in today’s NFL. Teams already run too much as it is, so gearing up to stop the pass—thus forcing teams to run even more—is a smart move.

Let’s take a look back at “prototypical” Monte Kiffin players. I listed the average height and weight for Kiffin’s starters during his reign in Tampa Bay.

  • DT: 6-3, 295 pounds
  • DE: 6-3, 273 pounds
  • LB: 6-1, 230 pounds
  • S: 6-0, 207 pounds
  • CB: 6-0, 193 pounds

Remember, that was already a very undersized lineup. Now, take a look at the size of the Cowboys’ projected 2013 starters:

  • DT: 6-5, 304 pounds
  • DE: 6-4, 252 pounds
  • LB: 6-2, 238 pounds
  • S: 6-2, 217 pounds
  • CB: 6-0, 198 pounds

You can see that the Cowboys—who will boast one of the league’s smaller defensive units in 2013—are very comparable to Kiffin’s Tampa Bay defenses. They’re much longer along the line—an important trait for pass-rushers—including possessing more bulk inside. The ends are far lighter than what Kiffin has used in the past, but does anyone think DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are going to have problems stopping the run?

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