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Mailbag: What's The Ceiling For The Defense?


Regarding the defense, it seems like safety, defensive tackle and linebacker each are as strong as we could ask for. I like the upside of the defensive end position too, very deep. How good do you think this defense can be? — CHRIS TEASE / LEWES, DE

Rob: Micah Parsons sounds like he's on a mission to raise the entire defense's level of play this year, starting with his own. He's going to be a better player than he was last year, even if the stats don't reflect it, and that should make the entire group more effective. They ranked second overall in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings last year, thanks in part to their 34 takeaways. Maybe they won't crack 30 again, but the lineup is very similar to last year and there's a real confidence from the group. Sam Williams and Quinton Bohanna are two young players who had strong camps, and if that translates to the regular season, the defense could be stronger in the pass rush and run defense.

Kyle: Undoubtedly the strength of the team is the defense entering the regular season. Every year the ideal situation is to have playmakers at all three levels. Dan Quinn has that with DeMarcus Lawrence and a deep defensive line, Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch at linebacker, then Trevon Diggs and Jayron Kearse over the top. With all the draft investment and good development from the defensive coaching staff, it's the most talent and the most depth Dallas has had defensively in years. This could be a unit that challenges for the most takeaways again, and really play better from a yardage standpoint. Quinn's defense may be the most polarizing one in the NFC.

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