The rise of the Cowboys’ defense started well before New Orleans win

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“There was training camps in years before where I think the offense has pretty much dominated and this year was not that way,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “We’d leave some training camp days, truly just getting beat on offense, not having any production, not doing anything well. It was a struggle. You don’t want to lose confidence in yourself, so you had to realize that this is just a good defense we’re playing.”

Zack Martin remembers years where the offense “would have our way with them,” especially in 2014 and 2016, the last two seasons the Cowboys made the playoffs.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

“This year, any situation, like two-minute, I don’t think we won one the entire camp,” Martin said.

The Cowboys have had a good defense for a few years. They finished eighth in yards allowed per game in 2017. They had the No. 1-ranked run defense in 2016. They were fifth against the pass in 2015. In 2014, they forced 31 takeaways.8

This year, the Cowboys have showed signs of being a great defense, with the affirmation coming in a 13-10 win against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.

In its first 11 games, New Orleans averaged a league-best 37 points per game and was fifth in yards per game (416.6). Quarterback Drew Brees had been nearly unstoppable in his connection with wide receiver Michael Thomas. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram formed the best running back duo in the league.

On Thursday, the Saints were shut out in the first half for just the fourth time since Sean Payton became coach in 2006. They gained 176 yards, the fewest in a game since 2001. They converted just 3-of-11 on third down.

“Oh yeah,” coordinator Rod Marinelli said when asked if this was the best game his defense has played. “Since I’ve been here? Yeah, maybe this and that Seattle game [in 2014]. Those are the two. This one was special. This one here, we overcame a lot of stuff in the game and just kept playing. Just kept playing.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

The Cowboys are allowing 18.6 points per game. Only the Baltimore Ravens (18) are giving up fewer, entering the weekend.

For years, the Cowboys were a team built around their offense with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray, as well as an offensive line that featured Pro Bowlers in Martin, Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.