So, I've been watching this defense. And I think I've figured out a few reasons for its success.
1) Disguise – plain and simple. Dan Quinn is a master at disguise. He'll run looks where you can't automatically decipher exactly who has who and what each players responsibility is, which makes it easier to spy, and send X,Y, Z players on the blitz, while each player plays their responsibility. He's very clever in this regard.
2) Playing as Extensions of Each Other – Dan Quinn talked about this during a press conference, saying, "as a group, one of our focuses has been playing as an extension of each other." This is true. Watch when the opposing team has the ball and a play starts to unfold. Instead of panicking and every player going after the ball carrier as fast as they can, they may give up a few yards to contain that player, and each player is watching where the other players are and containing a spot on the field and an angle and speed so that the player can't break through. It's actually brilliant how the Cowboys defense is really all on the same page with sort of an awareness of being extensions of each other and this non-verbal communication. It's rehearsed and they've obviously identified and articulated what it is their end goal is as a team.
3) Speed, strength, and relentlessness – On top of being a smart, high-IQ defense, the Cowboys have speed, strength and a relentlessness as a defense that I would compare to sharks in a feeding frenzy. Micah Parsons' comments about "shark week" are really nothing to joke about. Everyone, including his teammates, kind of looked at him funny when he came in as a rookie talking trash about being the best. Not that it sat well with some players. Well, with some it did. And those players it didn't sit well with are gone. And year two has the Micah Parsons culture in full-effect.