(Editor’s Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss which Cowboys unit is the strength of the team.)
5) More Reliable – Cowboys Offense or Defense?
Nick Eatman: This question was a little harder to answer than I thought. Let’s not forget, the Cowboys did rank No. 1 in total offense last year, in terms of yards. But the defense also led the NFL in turnovers and ranked among the Top 5 for the most of the year. To me, I go by the players and coaches. In terms of coordinators, Dan Quinn gets the nod over Kellen Moore. And with the players, I think Micah Parsons is the best player on this team. And Trevon Diggs isn’t too far behind and when you throw in D-Law, Jayron Kearse and maybe a guy like Neville Gallimore, I really think the defense has surpassed the offense as the “best thing the Cowboys do.” But here’s the thing, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. There will be games the Cowboys will rely on the defense to win. And there will be times the offense must get to 30 points to win as well. That’s football. As long as neither side is a weak link, it’s fine.
Kyle Youmans: Early last season, I would’ve said the offense was easily the most reliable. The performances and yards gained against Tampa Bay (451), the Chargers (419), and New England (567) showed that against good defenses, this offense could still move the ball. However, I can’t see the games against good defenses later in the season like Denver (290), Kansas City (276), and Arizona (301) and think they’re reliable in 2022. Give me the defense who consistently forced turnovers and took away the strengths of their opponents, even in losses.
Rob Phillips: Tough question. The stats say the Cowboys had the league’s most dominant offense last year, but the eye test said the defense was the more consistent unit by the end of the season. Both sides of the ball have question marks after moving on from Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory. Maybe it’s because league rules have tilted toward offense in recent years, but I’ll go with Dak Prescott and the offense. I still think they have the ability to pile up yards and points, and there’s no guarantee the defense can replicate 30-plus takeaways again, even though they might end up being a better overall unit than last season with another year in Dan Quinn’s scheme. Saying that, though, there are several areas that the offense must improve from 2021, including the ability to counter schematic adjustments from opponents and a more consistent running game.