The Dallas Cowboys 2013 season ended with bitter disappointment across the board. The defense finished 32nd (last) in the NFL in total defense giving up 6,645 yards (415.3) yards per game. The defense also gave up 27.0 points per game mostly through the air. The offense was up and down most of the year. It would be games in which DeMarco Murray would get 20+ carries and there were some in which the run games was abandoned. The Cowboys relied too much on Tony Romo to bail them out time and time again and it didn't end well. Romo, who gutted out a huge comeback 24-23 win at Washington, injured his back but played through it. Romo's back injury turned out to be a herniated disc that required surgery. The injury is a serious one that can linger if the Cowboys front office doesn't protect him better. No quarterback past or present can win rings with the way this defense is constructed as of now.

Through all of that, the Cowboys like in recent years, never had a true identity like most of the elite teams do. That is vital if the Cowboys want to get over the hump and return to postseason play. The identity of this football team needs to change into more of a physical one like the 49ers and Seahawks are. DeMarco Murray is one of the NFL's best running backs when given a chance to get his carries. I know that he has some durability issues but he is a great talent that need to be utilized to the max. The offensive line this season, has also become a physical bunch with Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith leading the way. Center Travis Frederick had a great rookie season. Frederick more than held his own this season. He has proven that the Cowboys used their 2013 1st round pick on the right guy. The Cowboys identity on offense should be a ground and pound offense. They have the big guys up front who have improved from a season ago to become a smash mouth team. The smash mouth style of offense was a big component to the Cowboys winning three super bowl titles in the 90s. We all know that it's not the 90s anymore, but in this year's playoffs so far, the teams that have ran the ball well have won. That identity on offense can also protect Romo and it takes a huge load off of his shoulders.

As for the defense, there are a lot of holes that need to be filled. The situation with current defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin needs to be resolved quickly. We all know that's it's not entirely his fault because in his defense, the personnel didn't fit and the injuries on defense were piling up. Cowboys owner Jones brought Kiffin in to coach the current personnel that were a part of the old 3-4 scheme that former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips implemented. Ownership needed to change the personnel that can fit in Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense. It is a complex defense to learn and simply not having the right personnel led to a historically bad season defensively for the Cowboys. The Tampa 2 defense isn't a bad defense to coordinate and to coach. The Cowboys were lacking production from the defensive tackle position with Jay Ratliff departing to join the Chicago Bears. The secondary played bad but a lack of pass rush up front, exposed the secondary and left guys out of position to make plays. The identity for the Cowboys defense needs to also be a smash mouth style. Simply, it should be a defense that has big and nasty nose tackles that stop the run. Also they need corners and safeties that have good ball skills and when receivers run across the middle, they need to make them think twice before catching the ball. As a team, this team like we have been saying for years, has the talent to do special things. Mental toughness especially in December/January is needed and that Cowboys swagger is needed as well.

-Allan Wright

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