Coaching And Players, Not Scheme, Will Make Or Break Dallas Cowboys' Defense

By Ben Grimaldi
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be a wide variety of opinions on whether the Dallas Cowboys will succeed on defense with Monte Kiffin and his Tampa 2 defense. Plenty of scouts and writers believe the team has the players to make it work, others think it’ll take a few years, and drafts, until the unit becomes successful.

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you land on, just remember this, the success of the Cowboys defense will not come from the type of scheme they use and it rarely does. It comes down to coaching and talent; without those two things, it doesn’t matter how good your scheme is because it won’t matter. You can have the best coaching in the league but if he doesn’t have talented players around him, what good does it do? And vice versa.

It’s pretty simple. If Monte Kiffin can coach his players to the best of his ability, the Cowboys defense will be pretty good. Think about it, they have good players. DeMarcus Ware is a great pass rusher, Sean Lee is a special player at middle linebacker, Bruce Carter is a star in the making, Jason Hatcher keeps getting better and they have two very good cornerbacks in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. I didn’t even mention Anthony Spencer because who knows if he’ll be back, or any of the other solid contributors on the Cowboys defense, like Sean Lissemore, Tyrone Crawford and Orlando Scandrick.

Its funny how good coaching can make players look so good. Think about it, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh took over a team that was down in the dumps for almost 10 years and turned them into Super Bowl contenders in both seasons as their head coach. He’s also done it with basically the same players than were there already. He made Alex Smith, a perennial loser, into a winning quarterback and took a downtrodden team and turned them into winners. Is this because the players are magically getting better, or is it because the 49ers got the right coach to put his players in a position to succeed?

That’s what Monte Kiffin’s job will be; to put the Cowboys defense into the right position to make plays, something Rob Ryan failed to do. Scheme is overrated, talent and coaching is not, so all this wondering about what scheme the Cowboys defense plays is all for nothing if Kiffin   doesn’t do his job.

It’s the same on the offensive side of the ball, it doesn’t matter who calls the plays if the Cowboys don’t fix their offensive line, it won’t matter. Coaching and talent win in the NFL; schemes are just a fancy topic for us to talk about. So as the Cowboys move forward with a new coach and a new scheme on defense, the biggest question is how well can Kiffin teach his players?

If he does his job well, the Cowboys defense will be successful. If he fails, Dallas will be looking for a new head coach next season. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi 

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