What was most responsible for the Cowboys failings on defense against the Rams?

The Dallas Cowboys defense this offseason was supposed to go through a lot of major changes after the departure of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan came in letting everyone know that opposing offenses were going to see a lot more pressure from a Cowboys defense that ranked near the bottom on called blitzes at 23.2% per dropback in 2019. Yet with all that talk, we didn’t see that much more of the Cowboys defense blitzing, hitting a 29.4% per dropback mark so far this year. Some may blame it on losing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy or losing middle linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to a broken collarbone, but the Cowboys might have also pulled back some since the Rams were using a quick-pass game plan that would have defeated much of the blitzing.

The Cowboys also played soft in their coverage. Cornerbacks not pressing the man on the outside to throw off the play timing, and receivers finding soft spots in the coverage, just made it too easy for the Rams to get the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands fast enough to negate the Cowboys pass rushers. The Cowboys need to start showing the ability to disrupt the timing of plays in coverage to give Aldon Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence the time they need to get to the quarterback.

The Cowboys were also undone on defense by not being able to shut down the run and forcing the Rams into longer down and distance situations. The loss of Vander Esch may have played a role in that, but Jaylon Smith was caught out of position too many times and the defensive tackle rotation didn’t do enough to create a wall.

With all that being said who or what do you believe is responsible for the lackluster defensive showing in L.A.?


Who do you blame most for the Cowboys’ defensive performance in Week 1?

  • 27%

    Mike Nolan

    (2077 votes)

  • 24%


    (1841 votes)

  • 33%

    Defensive Tackles

    (2538 votes)

  • 11%


    (895 votes)

  • 1%

    Other (explain in the comments)

    (118 votes)

7469 votes total

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