This much we know about the Dallas Cowboys, they will be playing football in the fall of 2013, they will be playing in the NFL‘s most outrageous stadium, they will be the most scrutinized team in the league and they will always have that star on the side of their helmet. Aside from that, not much will be the same for the Cowboys next season and that’s a good thing.
Free agency and the draft haven’t even come along yet and the Cowboys have a drastically different look. Forget their new 4-3 alignment, I’m talking about their new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who won’t talk a big game but will rather have his players do the talking for him. He brings with him a new philosophy predicated on causing turnovers, what a novel concept that will be for Cowboys fans. It’s been a long time since the Cowboys defense caused enough turnovers to make a difference in the team and that’s what Kiffin brings.
Kiffin also brings the game’s best teacher on the defensive line in Rod Marinelli. Say what you want about the Kiffin hire but its biggest advantage is the Cowboys have Marinelli to coach their defensive line, where he gets to work with some of the Cowboys best players. You can count DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher in that group, and hopefully it will include Anthony Spencer.
The switch to the Tampa 2 will also benefit three of the Cowboys youngest stars on defense; Sean Lee and Bruce Carter will have more room to run and make plays. No longer will they get caught up in traffic or have to take on as many blockers, they will have the space to make plays. The shift also helps Morris Claiborne, whose biggest strength is as a play maker. Now he’ll get to make those plays and the entire Cowboys secondary will be more aggressive. Gone are the days where we saw the soft coverage’s where Dallas cornerbacks would line up eight yards off of the receiver and allow a catch right in front of them.
The Cowboys offense will also be different next year because as reluctant as he’s been to give up play calling duties, Jason Garrett has done that. It doesn’t matter that Garrett hasn’t named who will be handling that job yet because it’s not in his nature to do things quickly to appease anyone. Since when has anything Garrett’s done not gone through a ‘process,’ and this is no different. Besides, we all know it’s likely to be Bill Callahan anyway and that’s great news for Tony Romo. Along with Callahan come some principles of the west coast offense, which means getting the ball out of Romo’s hands quicker. That’s especially good news since the Cowboys offensive line has flaws.
Garrett giving up play calling is also good because it allows him to be more involved in all aspects of the Cowboys, something that is a good fit for Garrett. He’s got the right approach to this team and him having his influence all over the Cowboys makes sense. Hopefully it’ll cure some of the game miss-managements that have occurred in Garrett’s first few seasons.
The Cowboys still have the offensive pieces in place at the skill positions to be better next season and having a new play caller will infuse some life into a stagnant and predictable offense. Dallas also found out last season that Dez Bryant can be trusted and they found out how to best utilize his skills and he’s only going to get better.
All of these things will give the Cowboys a much different look next season and hopefully the results will be better as well. They always look much better as a winner.
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