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Rob Ryan finally has the opportunity to teach defense to his players.
The lockout really hurt the Cowboys. Not just in regards to Dez Bryant violating the Northpark Mall dress code, but in the defense’s development. After hiring a new defensive coordinator with a complicated scheme, the players are given only minimal access to him, and are forced to learn on the fly throughout the season. The defense was never in sync with their coordinator—players were throwing their hands up in confusion multiple times per game, often as the ball was being snapped.
But even with all of those challenges, it was improved year over year. There wasn’t much room to get worse, but improvement is still important. Having a full offseason to absorb the intricacies of Ryan’s scheme, and have the entire team comfortable executing it, will have a very obvious effect during the season.
Dallas’s offense is potent enough that it doesn’t need a legendary unit on the other side of the ball, just one that won’t give up 25 points per game. The Cowboys have finally found an aggressive scheme they like and have made most of the roster moves to execute it effectively.