DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - The Cowboys are looking to simplify their struggling defense as they head into their Week 3 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
New head coach Mike McCarthy brought in Mike Nolan to fix what was often-times described as a "basic" defense last year under Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. But to this point, Nolan's defense hasn't had success in getting to the quarterback or keeping the opposing team off the scoreboard.
Through two games, the Cowboys defense ranks 24th in the NFL after they allowed an average of 401 yards against the Rams and Falcons. Their average points against (29.5) ranks 26th in the league. Add in the fact that they have just one sack, and you can see why the Cowboys should have some urgency heading into a matchup with Russell Wilson.
"We understand this is going to be a process," linebacker Jaylon Smith said. "But we have the guys, we have the talent, we have the mentality and the work ethic, and we're putting all the work in. Sometimes great things just take time. We're trying to speed it up as much as possible, and it's an every-day effort."
In fairness to the Cowboys defensive unit, they didn't have a full offseason to prepare under Nolan, and they've had some injuries to overcome, as well. Cowboys COO Stephen Jones spoke Friday on 105.3 The Fan about the issue of not getting a full offseason working with Nolan and the challenges that come with it.
"At the end of the day, we have a new staff. In particular, on the defensive side of the ball. Mike's (Nolan) bringing in a new system and we didn't get any time to work on it. Nobody's making any excuses, that's just part of it," Jones said. "Nobody got OTA's or mini camps, but I do think it probably had a more profound affect on the teams that were putting in new systems. You didn't get the time you might normally get. And usually, as you know, teams with new head coaches get extra time. That's part of it. If you were going to say we need to simplify it, it should be earlier not later. I think it's just a matter of time of our players getting their hands around it and Mike (Nolan) getting his hands around the personnel that he has. We had some great conversations this week about who should be doing what on that side of the ball. I'm very convicted we're going to get our hands around it and be able to do what we want to do as a football team."
One player who hasn't struggled this season is defensive end Aldon Smith, who previously played under Nolan in San Francisco.
"I feel like they've made it fairly simple. I think everybody needs to just chill out. This is the third game coming up. We didn't have too much of an offseason. We didn't have a preseason," Smith said.
The Cowboys better hope they can figure it out quickly as they are set to go up against a Seahawks offense that has put up 36.5 points per game in their two wins over the Falcons and the Patriots.
We might be in for a shootout on Sunday.