Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys' Defense: Tough, But No Turnovers

Hard to be persnickety about a defense that didn't allow a touchdown in the season opener, but at some point the Dallas Cowboys' pressure has to translate into points. Right?

Continuing a troubling trend from 2009, the Cowboys harassed Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb and generally suffocated the the Redskins last Sunday night. The end result: 250 yards allowed, 0 turnovers and 1 loss.

"We've just got to keep working at it," linebacker DeMarcus Ware told me on his weekly Wednesday radio show on 105.3 The Fan. "Keep getting pressure. Keep getting tipped balls. We're too good of a defense for the turnovers not to come eventually."

I used to believe that, too.

But these days it's deteriorated into only hope.

Why? Because, simply put, the Cowboys don't force turnovers. It's like an aggressive, athletic basketball team that repeatedly gets to the line but continues to lose games because of missed free throws.

Since 2008 they have forced the second-fewest in the NFL behind only Washington.

Weird, because Dallas typically is among the league leaders in sacks. The inability to flip field position is a real problem. Last season the Cowboys had the third-worst average starting point on offense (at their 27-yard line). That means, of course, long drives by the offense compiling yards, but not points.

This is not to blame the defense for the 13-7 loss to the Redskins. But in the last two seasons the Cowboys are 10-3 when they get a takeaway and 2-4 when they don't.

If they don't force at least one turnover Sunday against the Chicago Bears in Cowboys Stadium we'll revisit this topic next week. Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler has thrown a league-leading 45 interceptions the last two seasons.

Oskie, anyone?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt

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