Why the Cowboys should be concerned about what the Giants have done this offseason
Jon Machota, Cowboys beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the team in a live chat recently. Here's what he had to say:
Which NFC East team's offseason should have the Cowboys the most concerned?
Machota: New York Giants. Their defense is already one of the best in the league, which you saw in both games against the Cowboys last year. But they've improved significantly on offense with the additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram. If their offensive line can just be decent, the Giants have a good shot at winning the East and having one of the NFL's best records.
Who will fill the leadership role on defense left by Barry Church?
Machota: Byron Jones. Players have already talked about him taking on more of a leadership role during the offseason program. But I don't think it will only be just one guy. Jeff Heath is a veteran voice in the locker room and so is Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll. They'll help make up for the loss of Brandon Carr, another vet leader lost in free agency.
Do you think this new generation of Cowboy's DB's are going to create more turnovers? What were the deficiencies in solid vets Claiborne, Carr, Church, that makes anyone think the rookies will better in that area? Didn't they play to Marinelli's scheme?
Machota: I think it would be tough for them to create less. These draft picks are players that Marinelli has helped pick to run his scheme. That wasn't the case with Carr and Claiborne. They were added during Rob Ryan's time as defensive coordinator. But it won't look good for the current scheme if these new players come in and continue to struggle to make plays on the ball. Takeaways are one of the biggest parts of success. The Cowboys had 31 in 2014 and won 12 games. They had a league-low 11 in 2015 and won four. Last season, they had 20, and won 13 games.
Is Anthony Brown ready to be a starting corner an NFL team can depend on?
Machota: I'd say so. Corner is a young man's game. He started nine games as a rookie so he's capable of starting 16 in Year 2. Cornerback will be the most interesting position battle to watch come training camp. I wouldn't be shocked if any of the following six were starting Week 1 against the Giants: Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Marquez White.