Is this defense simply outdated? It worked in the late 90's early 00's when Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson were winning Super Bowls, but today's league is different. Can they adapt the scheme to make it fit today's NFL?
David: A similar scheme has been employed in Chicago for the better part of a decade with fantastic results. The Bears were fifth in the league in yards allowed, third in the league in points allowed and first in the league in turnovers in 2012. So I disagree with the point. I personally think the adjustment from system to system has been harder on the players – specifically the linebackers and cornerbacks – than initially anticipated. I trust guys like Sean Lee and Brandon Carr to figure it out as they go along, and hopefully the defensive coaches can bring younger players like Morris Claiborne, Bruce Carter and J.J. Wilcox along at a faster clip.
Rowan: I think when this specific defense with Monte Kiffin at the helm worked at its greatest, the athletic tight ends that are so prevalent in today's game weren't around. But this isn't the exact same defense as the one in Tampa Bay or any other defense that have taken elements of the Tampa 2. Coaches tweak schemes to fit their personnel, and I think they're still figuring out how to do that best with this group. But we've seen this scheme in top shape early in the season, so it's possible they can still adapt and figure it out. It starts with fixing the pass rush. [embedded_ad]
HOUSTON , TX
Two questions about the D-Line. What are the chances of Dallas trading for a pass rusher before the deadline, and what ends could be a possibility? Also, are we to assume Jay Ratliff is getting healthy since we released Will Allen? What kind of impact can we expect from Rat?
David: I know there has been a pretty unusual amount of trade activity in the NFL this season, but I just don't see it. I'm not sure there's anyone on the market the Cowboys could land without having to overpay. Ratliff is eligible to return to the active roster next week, but the team's own owner/general manager, Jerry Jones, said Wednesday morning he didn't know what Ratliff's status was. It's true the Cowboys would need to open a roster spot to bring Ratliff back, but I don't think Allen's dismissal was related to that. At this point, that situation is anyone's guess.
Rowan: I wouldn't have predicted Will Allen would be out the door Tuesday afternoon, so there's always an unpredictable possibility of the team bringing someone in via trade to help out. Defensive line is the top spot that could use the help, but I wouldn't put my stock in that at this point. As for Ratliff, I don't think Allen's release is related at all. Now, if Allen had been released a week or two from now, then maybe. But Ratliff can't come back from PUP yet, and if Jerry Jones' comments this morning are any indication, no one seems overly optimistic the former Pro Bowl tackle will be ready right when he's eligible to return. If the Cowboys could get a healthy Ratliff, that could be crucial down the stretch. We've all said what a difference we thought Ratliff could make in this scheme, but we just haven't seen him healthy in so long.