Can the Cowboys overcome their defensive free-agent losses?
One could think a pressing question for the Dallas Cowboys would be how well quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott perform in year two of their respective NFL careers.
Yes, that’s a big question. But it’s not the biggest one.
The Cowboys got by without a top-tier defense last season and rode offensive momentum to a 13-3 record. The formula worked in 2016, but things won’t be quite the same this season.
Especially on defense.
Take a look at some of the key free-agent losses, as listed by The Landry Hat’s Carl Daley:
"The notable names lost by Dallas in free agency include: offensive lineman Ronald Leary, defensive backs, J.J. Wilcox, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and defensive linemen, Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford. But these are not names I’ll miss as while they made some terrific plays, they were all also liabilities in some way or another. That is everyone except for the two defensive linemen."
While the Cowboys shored up defensive losses in the NFL Draft — DE Taco Charlton and DBs Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis — these players may not come anywhere close to providing the same level of only adequate production Dallas enjoyed last year.
How much will the Cowboys defense hurt as a result?