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Sunday, May 13, 2012
Was Cowboys defense that bad last season?

By Calvin Watkins

Recently the Dallas Cowboys brass has come under fire from the media and fans regarding the defense.

Sure, the defense finished 14th overall and allowed 64 plays of 20 or more yards. Oh yeah, the defense finished 23rd in the league against the pass, allowing 244.1 yards per game.

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But you forgot 2010?

The Cowboys allowed a franchise record 436 points. That defense, led by Wade Phillips and eventually by Paul Pasqualoni, after Phillips' firing, finished 23rd in total defense, allowing 351.8 yards per game.

That same defense had 20 interceptions, five more than the 2011 bunch that was supposedly better.

You can interpret the stats how you want, but it's interesting the Cowboys gave up just 89 fewer points last year than 2010, which some would say was one of the worst defensive seasons in Cowboys history.

The upgrades to the roster -- drafting Morris Claiborne in the first round, signing Brandon Carr, Brodney Pool and Dan Connor in free agency -- should help the defense.

Rob Ryan is among the many at Valley Ranch who believe the defense will be better in 2012 thanks to the roster additions and a full offseason where the Cowboys defensive coordinator can implement his scheme at a measured pace. In 2011, the lockout forced Ryan to rush the teachings of his defensive system once training camp began.

The Cowboys were a bad defense overall in 2010 and you could also say it was bad in 2011. The moves the Cowboys made, whether it was releasing veterans such as Terence Newman or not re-signing Bradie James and Keith Brooking, are a sign youth and upgraded talent is important right now.