NFL

Darren Woodson Unleashes on the Cowboys Defense for Being Soft: ‘They Tackle Like They’re Playing Flag Football’

Darren Woodson left his heart and soul on the football field when he played for the Dallas Cowboys, so when he watches his former team’s defense in 2020 all he can do is cringe. Woodson recently spoke about the Cowboys’ defensive struggles this season, and the Dallas legend didn’t hold back.

Darren Woodson is a beloved Cowboys legend

Darren Woodson left his heart and soul on the field with the Dallas Cowboys, so he's disgusted with the way their defense is playing in 2020.
Darren Woodson played 12 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys| Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images

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When you think of the dominant Dallas Cowboys teams throughout the 1990s, Darren Woodson is one of the first players who come to mind. Woodson played 12 seasons for the Cowboys and won three Super Bowls with the franchise in the span of four years.

Woodson was arguably the best safety in the NFL throughout the mid-90s. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in three straight seasons from 1994-96. He hit hard, flew around the field like a blur, and patrolled the middle of the field better than anyone in the sport at the time.

Woodson finished his NFL career with 803 tackles, which is the most in franchise history. He’s beloved by the fan base to this day, and he still roots for the team like a fan. That’s why he’s so disappointed with the Cowboys’ defensive effort this season.

The Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in the NFL

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In the glory days of the 1990s, Dallas prided itself on its strong defensive units. The Cowboys had a top-five scoring defense in five straight seasons from 1992-96.

That’s not the case in 2020. This year’s Cowboys defense is the worst scoring unit in the entire NFL. Dallas is giving up 30.8 points per game this season. Its also giving up the most rushing yards per game to opposing offenses of any team in the league (162.7).

But it’s not the terrible stats that are embarrassing Woodson. The former Cowboy isn’t happy with the way the 2020 defense competes on the field, and he aired out his frustrations this week.

Darren Woodson unleashes on Cowboys defense

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Woodson has watched this porous Cowboys defense all season as a fan, and he finally reached a breaking point this week. Woodson spoke to CowboysSI.com about his distaste with the 2020 defensive unit.

“The way they play, it makes the competitor in you cringe,” Woodson said. “It was my job to hit people. To punish quarterbacks. To have my teammate’s back. But these guys … I don’t know. They’re helping up runners. Giving love taps on helmets. After the game, sure, it’s a brotherhood. But between the lines, where’s the animosity? We just don’t see anger in this defense’s veins. We see tackling like they’re playing flag football. That’s why all season they’ve been gashed.”

“Our old special-teams coach (Joe Avezzano) used to say, ‘Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you’,” Woodson continued. “At safety, you might not always win the physical battle. And make no mistake, this isn’t a physical football team. But if you’re outmanned, you have to win the mental battles. You don’t do either of those – you get run over on one play and blow an assignment the next – that’s when the bear gets you. With this team, there’s just too many mental errors, too much ‘hero ball’.”

Woodson sounds ready to buckle up the pads again and give the current Cowboys defense a kick in the pants. At 51, he still can’t be much worse than what Dallas is trotting out on the field this year.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference