Predicting Cowboys’ Takeaways in 2013
At DallasCowboys.com, I tried to project how many takeaways the Cowboys will have in 2013.
The ’Boys had seven picks in all of 2012, the fewest in the NFL. I think part of the reason for that is Rob Ryan didn’t put his cornerbacks in position to make plays on the football as frequently as he could have. Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr are one of the better play-making cornerback duos in the NFL, and I think Monte Kiffin’s scheme will more successfully allow them to show that.
To predict the Cowboys’ interception total, let’s start up front with the pass-rush. Dallas ranked only 20th in sacks and 23rd in pressures in 2012. There’s good reason to think the pass-rush will improve this year with Kiffin in town, but what can we realistically expect from Dallas?
Odds are they’ll have right around a league average pressure rate, meaning we can use the NFL average for picks, 15, as our baseline. Given the Cowboys’ switch to more zone coverage, their emphasis on undersized pass defenders, and the quality of their cornerbacks, we can probably bump up that projection just a bit. We’ll call it 17. For the record, that would have ranked them 11th in the league last year.