COMMENTARY | How quickly we forget the days of Terence Newman, Pacman Jones and Anthony Henry.
Thank goodness. I just had nightmares about thinking of those guys playing defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys.
The grass is a little greener in terms of pass coverage nowadays in Valley Ranch. The signing of Brandon Carr and the drafting of Morris Claiborne last season made life a little easier in pass coverage, and for the first time in who knows how long, made the secondary in Dallas exciting to watch.
Things are a bit different in 2013 for the Dallas defense, however. Monte Kiffin takes over as the new defensive coordinator, and the culture of the Cowboys is going to change drastically. Both Carr and Claiborne had decent seasons under Rob Ryan last year, but only had four interceptions combined, with Carr having three of them.
If we're talking about high expectations for the likes of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant next season, Claiborne and Carr should be No. 3 and 4 on that list.
Yes, things won't be easy having to switch to a new style of defense, and the Tampa 2 defense isn't the easiest of defenses to master overnight. But if Dallas really wants to get over the top, the defense has to create turnovers, and it starts with Carr and Claiborne playing man-to-man coverage.
Forcing turnovers has been one of the key areas that has lingered the Cowboys' hopes of being a dominant team over the last number of years.
No, not just a good team. A dominant team.
Not many people are betting on Dallas for numerous reasons: Romo's new contract, the offensive line, the lack of size on the defensive line, injuries, etc. You name it, it might be a reason.
Turnovers and great secondary play could fix almost everything. If Carr and Claiborne can play to the level that they're capable of, and possibly add a safety or two in the draft, then it'll be tough to beat this group.
Carr has a huge chance to further live up to the terms of his contract, and Claiborne has a chance to prove that Dallas didn't make a mistake moving up eight spots in the draft to get him.
It's a lot to ask for, especially this year, but it needs to happen if Dallas wants a shot to win at the end of the year.
Danny Webster is a featured columnist for the Dallas Cowboys. You can get in contact with him by following @DannyWebster21 on Twitter.
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- Morris Claiborne
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