The Dallas Cowboys should not hang their heads after their defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers Sunday night in the NFC Divisional Round. Instead, they must hit the phones and find players to improve their pass defense. For all the talk surrounding rookies leading the Cowboys it was the play of the defense that cost the team a chance to advance to face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.
To be fair, it was Aaron Rodgers that carved up the secondary but if the ‘Boys don’t improve on their 26th ranked passing defense, there will be more heartache next season.
To say that the secondary and linebacker positions must be addressed would be an understatement. This has been the team’s weakness all season and the Packers were the first to actually exploit it, just so happens, it came at the wrong time. But, what’s done is done and now the issue is, how do they fix it?
To some, it may not be a huge problem. But anytime you let a player like Jared Cook roast the middle of the field for six receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown, there’s a problem. The entire blame does not fall on the shoulders of Sean Lee, but Lee and the rest of the LBs are not quality cover guys. When it’s time to stop the run, they can fill the gaps with the best but when the TE releases, it becomes a problem. This is where a player like Malcolm Smith will come in handy. He has the speed to work sideline-to-sideline, stop the run, but most importantly, he can cover the middle of the field. Team Lee and Smith and the Cowboys just solved one major issue.
The secondary was a disaster Sunday. Rodgers came into the game as hot as any QB in NFL history but you can only be that hot if defenses allow you to be. It’s one thing to make pinpoint passes but it’s another when your receivers are wide open. Such was the case Sunday. The Cowboys DBs were invisible, and when they did make an appearance it was brief at best. Rodgers is an MVP candidate and he will make plays but with less than a minute left in a playoff game and the Packers starting at the own 20-yard line, there was no way the were supposed to get into field goal range. This was to be an Overtime contest but the secondary gifted the Packers a 36-yard completion to Cook (of all people).
One name, Darrelle Revis. He had a down season, it happens but he’s still considered one of the top 3 CBs in the league. The New York Jets are looking to wipe the slate clean, which will make Revis available. Teams will be lining up for his services but as a veteran, with hopes of getting another Super Bowl ring the Cowboys should be high on his list and vice versa. But, the issue is money. No move can be made until the Cowboys make a decision on Tony Romo.
Dak Prescott proved that he’s the QB going forward and no matter the amount of love owner Jerry Jones has for Romo he must clear that $18M annual salary off the books. In doing so the ‘boys will be able to go after the players that are needed to improve a defense that was a few stops away from the NFC Championship game.