Pa David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys writer

Despite the praise heaped on it Dallas Cowboys defense, don’t expect Dan Quinn to be satisfied with where the group is.

After all, the Cowboys defensive coordinator has seen what it can look like at its best. Long before he led that turnaround in Dallas, even before that fateful Super Bowl with Atlanta FalconsQuinn oversaw NFL greatness as a defensive coordinator Seattle Seahawks and the iconic Legion of Boom.

Reflecting on former Seahawks great Cam Cancellar’s famous moment, Quinn can vividly recall the process of watching the great become special.

“It got to the playoff game, he had an 80- or 90-yard interception Carolina “I remember seeing it at the time and saying, ‘That’s it, that’s what it looks like.’ This is what a championship defense could look like.”

Needless to say, the Cowboys have a long way to go before anyone compares them to the unit that terrorized the NFL for roughly five years, helping Seattle to two Super Bowl appearances and one championship.

But it’s not so much about comparison as it is about the idea of ​​going from good to great and then from great to great. And while that hasn’t happened with this group through four weeks, Quinn knows exactly what to look for when evaluating.

“There’s usually a moment or two in the first 10 to 12 games where you answer the call, you follow through — there’s something that says, ‘Wow,'” he said. “You don’t know what kind of game it’s going to be. You’re not even sure who your opponent is, but there’s just a performance that says, ‘This is what this group is capable of.'”

Quinn was sure his current group hadn’t had a “wow” moment yet. Because knocking on st Giants and Commanders not quite the same as some of the challenges facing the Cowboys. But in watching this defense through the first month of the season — even in a loss Tampa Bay – it is not difficult to assume that the moment is coming.

All the key stats speak for themselves and are easy to look at. The Cowboys rank seventh in total defense and third in scoring defense. Their 15 sacks rank second in the league Philadelphia. They have yet to allow multiple touchdowns in any of their four games, which is a big reason why they have yet to allow an opponent 20 points.

It gets more interesting at the micro level. There is a great deal of irony when you look at the win rate figures for the first four weeks. The leader in the clubhouse with a significant margin is Randy Gregory — who, unfortunately, had just been sent to injured reserve with a knee injury.

Gregory, if you recall, was on the verge of re-signing with the Cowboys in March – right before he chose Denver, where he signed a five-year, $70 million contract. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was quick to point out that the money saved allowed them to sign several replacements in Dorrance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr and Anthony Barr.

“We ended up getting three players for what we would have liked to get Randy for, and that’s exciting,” Jones said.

The funny thing is, despite the spin, Jones happens to be right. The Cowboys lead the league in pass rush wins, winning the game 56% of the time. And while Gregory may top the list, the Cowboys currently have three top-20 players. Micah Parsons ranks sixth, winning 17.6% percent of the time, while DeMarcus Lawrence ranks 13th at 13.8%, with Armstrong right behind him at 15th and 13.6%. For now, Fowler justifies the $3 million investment as he has three quarterback hits, two sacks and a forced fumble while playing just 29% of the team’s defensive snaps.

That doesn’t mean the Cowboys have it all figured out. After all, that “Wow” moment hasn’t happened yet. It feels like it’s coming, and there’s no time like the present. The Cowboys’ next opponent, Los Angeles Ramshave allowed 16 sacks through four weeks and have nine turnovers to go with it.

We’ll see what happens, but the potential is there. It’s worth being excited about.

“I think we have a long way to go,” Quinn said. “But what worries me about the group is that I think we can get a lot better as we go. It really turns me on.”

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of Doc Prescott: Family Reunion, about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites to stay updated on games, news and more