The question would be unthinkable in years past, particularly in light of the rich history of this
Is there a D in Dallas?
There certainly wasn't last season, when the
"It's definitely embarrassing, especially when you know the type of talent you have on the team," cornerback
Making matters worse, the three best defensive players from last season are gone.
Otherwise, the Cowboys have the same top three cornerbacks from last season, and the same top three safeties. They signed defensive tackle
This comes at a time when NFL teams are putting up staggering offensive numbers, and when the
The Cowboys have made one significant change, replacing defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin with
Marinelli provides a glimmer of hope, but the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to make the kind of defensive reversal the
"We're focused on us," Cowboys Coach
"We had to make some of those decisions, which are hard. The positive part is we have a younger team, way younger than it was three years ago. We think that's a good thing. It shows up on our defensive line. We're going to give a lot of players a chance to show what they can do."
Before 2013, no defense had allowed more than three 400-yard passers in a season. Last year's Cowboys gave up four such performances, and it would have been five had the Saints not taken their foot off the gas during a 49-17 rout.
Even though their defense was horrendous, the Cowboys still came within a Week 17 loss to Philadelphia of making the playoffs. The unpredictability of the
Overall, the Cowboys have been the definition of mediocrity. They have gone 8-8 three seasons in a row and are 136-136 dating to 1997, with just one playoff victory in those 16 years.
Dallas has offensive punch in quarterback
As important as it is to score points, that doesn't matter if you can't stop anyone. The future of Garrett, in the final year of his contract, hinges on Dallas both scoring and stopping.
For his part, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is looking to manage expectations. At his pre-camp State-of-the-Cowboys news conference, he intentionally steered clear of Super Bowl talk, a departure from years past.
"We've never had more new faces, yet have the optimism that I have for those new faces, many of them are experienced veterans to some degree," Jones said. "Certainly, we've got our share of rookies and rookie free agents, but still, I'm very optimistic that we have a team that can come together ...
"It's not about next year. We've gone from possibly being one of the older teams to being one of the younger teams, but I think we've got the fundamentals to compete and compete right now."
That starts with defense. Barring a miraculous turnaround, this yardage-yielding unit could redefine doomsday.