Ways to help the run defense improve

Don’t need to tell Cowboys fans this – we’ve had trouble stopping the run for multiple years. This year, the Cowboys defense is 8th in total defense, 3rd against the pass, and wait for it… 25th against the run. Until proven otherwise, the game plan to beat the Cowboys will be simple- run the ball- especially outside the tackles.

So we have 3 regular season games left before the playoffs. What can this team do to improve our ability to stop the run and improve our defense going into the playoffs?

  • Faster starts on offense. The last several weeks, the Cowboys offense sputters out of the gate. The Cowboys are 8-2 when scoring first; 2-2 when opponent scores first. Last 5 games, the offense has been too slow to awaken. It’s been too rare to see a game start with a 7-0 Cowboys lead.
  • Getting the lead at Half- Cowboys are 8-1 when leading at half; 2-3 when behind or tied at half. When behind, it often forces opponents to abandon the run game, especially down two scores or more late in games.
  • Take Parsons off the LOS more often- hate to say it but Micah Parsons is beat up. Putting his 240 lb body snap after snap against 320 lb lineman is hard on the body. Let him roam more to make plays in the run game. If the opponent is behind and forced to pass, move Parsons up to rush the passer.
  • Football 101- set the freakin’ EDGE of the field!-We all learned in Pee Wee football- defensive ends and outside LBs must set the edge of the field. Don’t let a runner get outside- use the sideline and force them to cut to the middle! How many times are we going to watch Cowboys edge players let plays get outside of their contain? Quinn needs to be working on this over and over in practice. It’s fundamental football.
  • Tackling must improve– lots of weak arm tackle attempts lately. Another football fundamental- the art of tackling. Use shoulder to hit while simultaneously wrapping up. Football is still a game of fundamentals!

Sadly, there is no hidden talent coming to rescue this run defense. We have to get better with what we have. If this offense can stop the slow starts, the defense set the edge and tackle better, that alone can improve what has become the chief weakness our opponents will continue to exploit unless we improve.

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