A little premature, but what do you think will be better on defense, taking our personnel into account: Sacks, turnovers, points allowed?
Rowan: Ideally, the sacks and pressures would lead to turnovers. The coaching changes were made in an effort to get more takeaways, so let's go with turnovers. The new 4-3 defense puts an emphasis on having four defensive linemen who are capable of getting up the field and getting to the quarterback. That should allow a healthier secondary and linebacker corps to reap those benefits.
David: I'm going to go with turnovers. Last year's total of seven interceptions tied a franchise low. So statistically speaking, it's almost guaranteed to improve. It certainly can't get any worse. The influx of depth in the secondary should definitely help with that, as well.
The Cowboys defense struggled last season in both games against division rival Washington's rushing attack duo of RGIII and Alfred Morris. Will the transition from a 3-4 to 4-3 scheme help or hurt ability to contain the Redskins read-option offense?
Rowan: It's up for debate, but the attacking style of the 4-3 run by Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli should be more disruptive in the backfield and help them take down option teams like the Redskins more easily. Teams are still game planning against the relatively new option style, and they should be able to do a better job with more game film and preparation against it. Considering how the Cowboys played against that attack last year, it shouldn't be any worse with the switch. Plus, whatever advantage the Redskins got by seeing the defense last year should be gone with all the changes.
David:I really like the 4-3 when it comes to that type of offense. The go-to line about the read-option is that it depends on the quarterback to judge the defensive end and either keep the ball or hand it off based on the end. Well, if DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are as good with their hands in the dirt as this coaching staff expects, the Cowboys should have a leg up in that department. The faster those two can [embedded_ad] force the play to develop, the faster guys like Bruce Carter and Sean Lee can sniff out the tackle. Both guys are experienced in a three-linebacker scheme, so that shouldn't be too much of a switch. I think the move is a good one in the long run – both against the Redskins and in general.