Can the Dallas Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady by embracing a defensive team identity? Dallas Cowboys Blog

Frisco, Texas– Tom Brady: Dallas Cowboys Killer.

New York Jets and Buffalo Bills fans have struggled for longer, since Brady was the quarterback for the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2019. Brady won 66 of the 76 potential games against his former AFC East rivals in his career.

But he tormented the Cowboys, too – six games and six wins.

The 2022 Cowboys season begins the same as last season – against Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in prime time, though the Cowboys turn as host at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) .

If the Cowboys are to finally defeat Brady and become the first team to repeat the NFC East Champion title since the 2003-2004 Philadelphia Eagles, defense – not attack – should be the focus.

For most of the past decade, if not more, the Cowboys’ larger-than-life expectations have come from having a star-led attack that has been the envy of many teams across the league. Where Tony Romo Became creative in 2006 (replaced by Duck Prescott In 2016), the Cowboys offense ranked first in the first half of the league with scoring in 12 out of 16 seasons—and within the top seven in eight seasons.

On the other hand, the defense was often asked to do enough.

In 2022, it’s about asking the defense to do more – even more than last season, when he exceeded expectations, he finished seventh in points allowed – and perhaps, yes, carry the weight of the season against Brady in Week 1 and ideally the playoffs.

Defense coordinator Dan Quinn said, “Someone asked me earlier, ‘What do you think about the show? “”The restoration takes place after the show. This is a new tour, a new show, a new collection. We ride together.”

Proof of identity turns from attack to defense

The last time the Cowboys won the Super Bowls, in the ’90s, the stars were the trio: wide receiver Michael Irvine, Troy Aikman, linebacker Emmett Smith and the offensive line. Yes, defensive end Charles Haley in the Hall of Fame and safety Darren Woodson in the Ring of Honor, but it’s as if defense played a small part of those three championships in four seasons.

From 2006 until last season, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Terrell Owens, Leonard Davis, Miles Austin, Marion Barber, Andre Gorode, Flozel Adams, Dess BryantAnd the Tyrone SmithAnd the Zach MartinTravis Frederick, DeMarco Murray, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliotAnd the Amary Cooper And the sir lamb Make at least one Pro Bowl appearance.

In the past 10 seasons in which they have played the Pro Bowl (2011-19, 2021), the Cowboys have had 37 offensive selections in the Pro Bowl and only 14 in defense.

“We always need the points, but I feel like the defense is finally catching up and we can finally match the attack with quick plays and points and everything, the transitions,” Anthony Brownwho has been around since 2016. “I feel like we’re pulling together and it’s so well balanced.”

However, the evidence that this season is different comes on the cover of the Cowboys Media Guide. It’s not Prescott, a $40 million quarterback. It’s not Elliot, the star is running backwards.

He’s noon Micah Parsonscorner Tryvon Diggs and defensive end De Marcus Lawrence Pictured in three different poses.

Parsons and Diggs were selected from the All-Pro in 2021. Lawrence has been selected twice in the Pro Bowl since 2017 and is the recognized leader of the group.

Quinn’s defense lets Parsons shine

Parsons is the centerpiece of Quinn’s scheme and appears poised to become the franchise’s most dominant defender since Ware, who became the Cowboys’ all-time captain in sacks from 2005 to 2013. Parsons set the franchise’s rookie record with 13 sacks in 2021. He lined up at center back and defensive end . He even took some shots in safety and back. He excelled in everything he did.

“In the past year, I’ve been just trying to earn the respect of my teammates and fellow players across the league,” Parsons said. “This year, I just want to go out there and take control now.”

In 2022, Parsons will be here, there and everywhere. The Cowboys added the Pro Bowl midfielder four times Anthony Bar In the summer to release Parsons to speed passers-by more if they wanted. They can also leave it in the coverage if they want to.

“I don’t believe in pressure. Pressure doesn’t exist,” Parsons said. “You have expectations for yourself and what you want to achieve, and that’s personal. I think the pressure may be aspects of others and how they view you. If that can put you off your game, you’re probably in the wrong sport.”

Off the chart, there will be personnel changes. Regulars from 2021 like Randy GregoryAnd the Damontay KaziAnd the Keanu Neal And the Carlos Watkins They’re gone – but the Cowboys think they’ll have a better passing dash Dorence ArmstrongAnd the Dante Fowle rJr. And the Sam Williams Gregory replaced. Hooker owner Kazy Bar replaces Neil; And a group of internal players to replace Watkins.

Will the Cowboys finally be the killers against Brady?

Perhaps it is fitting that Brady will be the first test of the Cowboys’ defense this season.

No other quarterback with at least five players against the Cowboys has a better record than Brady. In fact, only one quarterback has the undefeated mark with at least five games against Dallas, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He also happens to be Brady’s childhood hero, Joe Montana, who went 5-0 against the Cowboys in his Hall of Fame career.

Brady won in every way against Dallas. He was a Game Director (2003, no relegation). He has had surgery (2007, five landings). It’s been Meh (2015, sacked five times). It was bad (2019, 1 touchdown, 20 incompletes). It was a killer (2011, 2021, last minute, winning games).

When the schedule was released in May, Brady retired. Parsons thought he’d never see him again, but then the June quarterback wasn’t satisfied.

“I don’t think I’m going to face the same Tom Brady, and he’s not going to face the same Mica Parsons, so it’s going to be a fight,” Parsons said. “It’s not the same defense we had last year either. So either way you look at it, everything has changed. We still have to go out there and play football on Sunday.”

History says Brady will win Sunday. But maybe it’s cowboys’ time.

“Every week you will try to win the game and be the best player you can be,” the best player in intervention and safety last year Jayron Kerr, He said. “As far as Tom and Aaron Rodgers go from the world, you know, these guys are getting older, so it would be nice to win, and when they are out of the league, you can say you beat them in [what may be] their last year.

What is the defense ceiling?

“I mean, it could be as good as we want it to be,” Lawrence said. “It’s all up to us and getting things together here with DQ [Dan Quinn]. You know, we’ll keep growing and see where that takes us.”

No one knows where the defense will take them a year ago in Quinn’s first season. They just knew it would be better than the disaster of 2020 under Mike Nolan, when the defense allowed a 473-point franchise record.

Blame the epidemic. Blame the scheme. Blame it on talent. Blame it for what you want. was bad.

Quinn quickly corrected it.

The Cowboys went from allowing 29.6 points per game in 2020 to 21.1 points in 2021. Yards allowed per game improved by 35 yards per game. The third down defense was the second best player in the league behind the Buffalo Bills.

Most importantly, the Cowboys took the ball more far than any other NFL team with 34. They had 26 interceptions—led by Diggs’ 11—the most Dallas interceptions in a season since 1985.

The defense scored six touchdowns, including five interceptions that came back for touchdowns, the most in a single season in team history – and Quinn was named Assistant Coach of the Year by The Associated Press.

The new defensive standard for cowboys

Quinn doesn’t have to worry about your purchase. Players bought last year.

“That’s just the norm,” said Diggs, who is looking to become the second player to have consecutive double-digit interception seasons since the 1950s. “We got to the top of it. Just keep going.”

Perhaps this identity has been coming along all along.

While the Cowboys lean toward the offensive side of the ball due to their superstars, owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones put more capital into the defense. From 2011 to 2022, the Cowboys selected 59 defensive players, compared to 42 in attack. In the first three rounds of those drafts, the Cowboys selected 20 defensive players, compared to 13 players in attack.

The Cowboys’ salary cap composition is still trending towards offense with 60% of the allocation on this side of the ball, with Prescott, Elliott, Martin and Smith near or at the top of the highest-paid players in their positions. . Defense achieves 38.4%. Those numbers will change over the next few years when Diggs (2023) and Parsons (2024) are first eligible to sign the contract extension.

“I feel as if when Jerry and these guys drafted us, I felt like they wanted to switch their mindset to defense,” Jordan Lewis He said. We’ve made some changes that lead to this point. In the end, we got to where we wanted to be on defence.

“Okay, we’re getting to where we want to be on defense.”

Beating Brady for the first time will be a sign that the defense can make the difference.

“I think we have a chance to break more records and set a standard for how defense is played,” Parsons said. “I think we have some older talent. We have some really good young talent and we have some really good players.”