OXNARD, CA (KLTV) -
Aside from Tony Romo's back, the other theme so far in Cowboys training camp is how will the defense improve upon its horrendous numbers in 2013. Dallas can't turn to DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, or Sean Lee so who will step up and lead the defense?
Sports director Ryan Peterson helped answer the question from Oxnard, California. The numbers are in the crowd, but no where on the field. For the first time in a decade, number 94 is not in the Cowboys huddle. DeMarcus Ware, one of two pro bowl players to leave the Cowboys in 2014. "We made some hard decision within our organization with some guys that have been very good players for us," head coach Jason Garrett said.
Garrett added, "You think about DeMarcus Ware and the career he had with the Dallas Cowboys. But for a lot of different reasons you make decisions you think are best for your football team."
Calling the NFL a young man's game, Jason Garrett is excited about a younger, fresher defense. A line-up without proven stars, but with great potential. "I feel like its exciting you know," starting defensive end Nick Hayden said. "It's going to be a team of young guys and guys that just want to go make plays. We are going to be the best we can be. I love it so far. I love our passion and how we go out there and play fast.
Safety Matt Johnson added, "We have chip on our shoulder. I mean no one expects this defense to do a whole lot. We didn't rank very good last year at the end of the year, and we are excited to come in and prove people wrong."
The season ending injury to captain Sean Lee leaves Henry Melton as the only Cowboys defender to ever make the pro bowl. But the Cowboys say there is no shortage of leaders on this young defense. "For players like myself and Church and Scandrick, we really have to step up our game," starting linebacker Bruce Carter said. "We have to get all the new faces and young guys going because its really on us. We just need to go out there and do our thing."
Safety J.J. Wilcox added, "We have a lot of great leaders that are young, but they are doing a great job with us and its great to have some leaders like that that have some credibility and stripes under their belt."