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NFL Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Keys To Improving The NFL’s Worst Defense

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Keys To Improving The NFL's Worst Defense

Dallas Cowboys
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The good news for the Dallas Cowboys is that Tony Romo and Dez Bryant led an offensive unit that finished fifth in the NFL last year with 27.4 points a game. The bad news is that both DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are gone from the league's worst defense. Here are five keys to improving a horrible Dallas defensive group.

5. Less Zone Pass Coverages

Brandon Carr Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

5. Less Zone Pass Coverages

Brandon Carr Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys will play more press-man coverages this season to allow cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, both press guys coming out of college, to play a more aggressive, physical style. Dallas' secondary finished 30th in the NFL last season allowing 286 passing yards on game days. However, if the Cowboys cannot put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it's going to be another long season in Big D.

4. A Reformed Rolando McClain

Rolando McClain Dallas Cowboys
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. A Reformed Rolando McClain

Rolando McClain Dallas Cowboys
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The former Alabama standout has already gotten some first-team reps at middle linebacker and it is obvious Dallas has major plans for the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. The 25-year-old is a gifted athlete who has repeatedly struggled off the field and was arrested twice last year. If McClain can stay healthy and focused, Dallas' woeful defense could climb to the middle of the pack.

3. Rod Marinelli's Defensive Game Plans

Rod Marinelli Dallas Cowboys
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

3. Rod Marinelli's Defensive Game Plans

Rod Marinelli Dallas Cowboys
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that the Cowboys' defense was the worst in the NFL last year. The growing pains of stocking the roster with young defenders was expected. Bad schemes and poor-game planning by coaches was unexpected. Marinelli must hit it big with his game plans because Dallas did little to upgrade a horrible defense that allowed a staggering 415 yards a game last season.

2. Henry Melton Regains Pro Bowl Form

Henry Melton Dallas Cowboys
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

2. Henry Melton Regains Pro Bowl Form

Henry Melton Dallas Cowboys
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas needs the 27-year-old defensive tackle to return to his Pro Bowl level after having ACL surgery last year. Melton wreacked havoc in backfields while with the Chicago Bears and tallied a combined 13 sacks in 2011 and 2012. If Melton can become a disruptive force inside, the Cowboys might be able to finally put pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season.

1. Stay Healthy

Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

1. Stay Healthy

Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The fortunes of the Cowboys, like all NFL teams, rests on the numbers and severity of injuries to key players. But with the league's worst defense a year ago still having so many question marks, the loss of key starters like Henry Melton, Brandon Carr and Anthony Spencer for an extended time could have disastrous effects for a crew lacking experience and stellar talent.

Marvin Moore is a Texas Rangers writer at RantSports. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsMarvin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your circles on Google.