The Dallas Cowboys’ legendary safety Darren Woodson recently lambasted his former team’s current defense in a scathing interview.
Woodson gave an exclusive interview to reporter Richie Whitt of Cowboy Maven, which is part of the Sports Illustrated network. During his Cowboys career, the star safety recorded more total tackles than any other defensive player in the storied organization’s history. Therefore, he has every right to dish out harsh critiques of Dallas’ awful defense that is putting up record-setting numbers for the wrong reasons.
He questions the team’s current lineup of defenders because he thinks they lack tenacity. Woodson said he wants to see the defenders play angry, but instead they tackle “like they’re playing flag football.”
“The way they play, it makes the competitor in you cringe,” Woodson explained. “It was my job to hit people. To punish quarterbacks. To have my teammate’s back. But these guys … I don’t know. They’re helping up runners. Giving love taps on helmets. After the game, sure, it’s a brotherhood. But between the lines, where’s the animosity? We just don’t see anger in this defense’s veins. We see tackling like they’re playing flag football. That’s why all season they’ve been gashed.”
Dallas Cowboys Have Struggled To Replace Woodson for Years
Since Woodson retired in 2004, Dallas has struggled to find a true replacement for the five-time Pro Bowler. In fact, the organization has played more than 20 safeties in his position since he left the team. However, the Cowboys’ current defensive issues are a much larger problem than just one position.
In addition to Woodson’s criticism, another Dallas legend – and teammate of Woodson – took his frustrations out on their former team live on air.
“That’s about as poor of safety play as you’ll see,” Aikman exclaimed after a clear pass-interference penalty on Woods.
“You’d like a safety that can come up and be a thumper,” he continued after a soft hit on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. “(Woods) has a chance to make a play and hit Lamar Jackson short of the first down. But … I just don’t know exactly what this is. It’s not what you want to see from your safety, that’s for sure.”
Woodson is a Hall of Fame semifinalist for the fifth time this year. After three Super Bowl wins and ending his career with 1,350 tackles, 23 interceptions and 11 sacks, his resume speaks for itself. Yet, Woodson says he doesn’t see the caliber of safeties from his generation in today’s game.
“As a ’90’s safety, I can say we’ve been overlooked for a long time,” Woodson said. “We took on tight ends at the line of scrimmage. We covered receivers in the slot. We hunted the ball and we certainly didn’t shy away from contact. You just don’t see that in the NFL today.”