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Cowboys’ 2013 DT Rotation

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A look at the Cowboys’ defensive tackle rotation in 2013:

Last year, I published an article predicting only 20 tackles and two sacks for Ratliff in 2012. He finished with 16 tackles and zero sacks. Many are predicting a rebound season for Ratliff, but this isn’t a defensive tackle in his mid-20s. Ratliff will be 32 years old when the season begins and his play has been deteriorating for years. I have a really strong feeling that the Cowboys are going to be disappointed with Ratliff’s play this year; you can’t just move a guy over a couple feet in a new scheme and think he’s all of a sudden going to revert to Pro Bowl form.

Further, the Cowboys should limit Hatcher’s reps as well. He was on the field for 784 snaps in 2012—twice that of any other defensive lineman. He’s the Cowboys’ top defensive tackle, but he’s entering the final year of his deal at age 31. In addition to an expected drop in efficiency, the Cowboys just need to see what they have in Sean Lissemore and Tyrone Crawford.

There will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 defensive tackle snaps to go around—1,000 for each starter. In giving Hatcher around 750 snaps and Ratliff about 500, the Cowboys could optimize their defensive tackle efficiency, leaving 750 total snaps to split up between Lissemore, Crawford, and perhaps even Ben Bass.

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