This year has been hard on everyone, including the Dallas Cowboys are having an especially rough year so far. Despite expecting big things with a new head coach and fresh outlook this season, the franchise has struggled out of the gate. While Dallas is still atop the NFC East, they couldn’t feel further away from championship contention.
Why have they struggled so much? One embarrassing stat could help Jerry Jones and Co. understand; it tells you exactly how bad the Cowboys are in 2020.
The Dallas Cowboys’ expectations in 2020
The Cowboys had a disappointing 2019. After starting the year leading the NFC East, they fizzled out to finish 8-8 and missed the playoffs. After signing Ezekiel Elliott to an extension in the preseason, talk turned to Dak Prescott’s contract. The QB has played under the franchise tag, but even the team’s running back/quarterback duo couldn’t lead them past mediocrity.
There were serious consequences for the Cowboys’ failure. Head coach Jason Garrett said goodbye to the team, as they fired him after a decade of futility. They replaced him with former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy has a Super Bowl pedigree; he won one with the Pack in 2011. He was brought in to bring a new offensive style to the team while offering a change of pace from Garrett’s predictability.
How the Cowboys have performed so far
Dallas has struggled mightily in 2020. Prescott was hurt in the win against the Giants, but the Cowboys were underperforming even before their talented QB went down. Outside of a relatively low-scoring 20-17 loss to the Rams, the Cowboys have failed to hold a team under 30 points. They’ve suffered losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, and Arizona Cardinals where their defense looked absolutely inept. In wins against the Atlanta Falcons and the Giants they also struggled defensively.
The NFC East is awful right now, but Dallas hasn’t really separated themselves from the rest of the putrid pack. They have to find a way to turn it around, but it will be difficult. The offense hasn’t been great and now turns to the unspectacular Andy Dalton for the rest of the season.
Dalton isn’t bad as far as backups go, but he’s no Prescott. He’ll also have to pull the team out of their current funk, which is a tall order for anyone based on how bad they’re playing. So what’s the real problem?
Jerry Jones can’t ignore this embarrassing stat
The Cowboys’ defense seems epically bad. At the helm, they have defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, a man who’s no stranger to the NFL. He’s been a defensive coordinator and head coach for quite a long time, though his defense isn’t doing well at all this season. They’re so bad that the last time the NFL saw a defense play this poorly, it was coached by … Mike Nolan.
According to Blogging the Boys, the last defense that was as bad as this iteration of Dallas was the 2005 San Francisco 49ers. Through six games, the Cowboys have allowed 14 receiving touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns. The last team to do that was Nolan’s 2005 Niners.
If the Cowboys can’t turn their defense around soon, Nolan may find himself out of a job sooner rather than later. They’re playing in a very winnable division, but if they can’t stop opposing offenses, they don’t have hopes of doing much this season. It’s unclear whether it’s personnel or game planning, but something clearly has to change on Dallas’s defense.