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The preseason hype surrounding the free-agent acquisition of Brandon Carr and the bold war-room strategy that landed Morris Claiborne was almost as big as the state of Texas.
Finally the secondary couldn’t be picked on anymore, and the linebackers would be able to appropriately harass quarterbacks.
But alas, injuries bit into Rob Ryan’s crew and chewed up every last bit of depth, leaving them with street players and third-stringers.
Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff, Sean Lissemore, Orlando Scandrick, Dan Connor, Matt Johnson and Ben Bass all missed games at some point during the season. Even DeMarcus Ware was clearly playing hurt toward the end.
Every team deals with injuries. They are an unfortunate part of football. But there is a difference between dealing with injuries and being completely decimated as the Cowboys were. When you lose a starting safety and both starting middle linebackers to IR halfway through the year, you can’t expect your defense to be anywhere close to competitive.
However, these players will heal, and this defense will be competitive in 2013. In fact, it’s not unfair to say that Ryan’s crew will be absolutely feared next year. There are few situations that need to be patched up. The defensive line has some age issues. They’ll need to figure out how to pay Anthony Spencer or how to replace him.
Beyond that, they have one of the best linebacker groups backed by a solid pair of cornerbacks. I’m fully expecting this defense to be dominant come next August.