- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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Today we start our yearly Old School 101 series, where we speak with former Cowboys players and ask them to fix the current Cowboys.
We start our series with former cornerback and Dallas native Everson Walls.
Walls played for the Cowboys from 1981 to 1989 and still holds the club record for most interceptions in a season with 11, set in his rookie year.
Walls led the Cowboys in interceptions five times and is second in franchise history with 44 career picks.
Q: How do you fix cornerbacks Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, who struggled last season?
A: Any time you have a problem with one particular unit, it's not one thing, it's the entire defensive unit. So whenever I was successful, I had help.
Q: You mean safety help, pass rush?
A:I mean the pass rush. I need a defensive coordinator who is going to put you in the best position on every down, and at this point I don't know if the Cowboys were limited on how much pressure they could do and I don't know if they were predictable. Anything can be fixed. You need to have that constant pressure because there's always schemes that can keep an offense off balance. The more you do that, the more opportunities you have as a cornerback or a safety to make plays.
Q: Mike Jenkins struggled a little, but can he bounce back?
A:I think he can. We know how talented he is, and I remember when he came out and I thought he could make big plays and he has a nose for the ball. He was really the one that was leading that team. Getting interceptions is contagious and they weren't getting a lot until I came, and before me it was Mel Renfro. So you see one of the other guys who can do it, you can do it, too. Not only can he bounce back, but he can be a leader of this secondary and show them the way for getting more turnovers and turning the tempo of the game.
Q: Terence Newman is in his mid-30s. Is he too old to play corner? I know you played into your 30s.
A:He is an old guy, we can say that, but I don't think it's too late for him. If you come up with a good defensive scheme, that's what rejuvenated my career, a good scheme. If you get a quarterback and force him to hold the ball for four or more seconds, you can take a few more chances, and Terence Newman can do the same thing. He gave up some untimely plays last year, and with [Rob] Ryan coming in and being an aggressive coordinator it will also give Newman a little more confidence to have a resurgence as well. He's still quick with good speed.