In light of Jay Ratliff’s untimely release (demise), it had me thinking about how we wasted Ratliff’s talent. Ratliff was a 4-3 DE at Auburn and Bill Parcells drafted him in the 7th round, converted him to NT to replace Jason Ferguson.
Yes, Ratliff had a solid couple of years, but imagine how much better he would have been if we had kept Zimmer and kept Ratliff at DE or even DT. Seeing the success Jason Hatcher is having makes this whole deal very frustrating. There’s no doubt in my mind Ratliff would have wreaked havoc next to Hatcher.
Ware, Hatcher, and Ratliff were Parcells’ guys, and would have had more success in the 4-3.
Parcells started testing out the 3-4 in 2004 and fully implemented it in 2005, and it was not as advertised. It was not pressure intensive, it was not a turn over making machine, it did not confuse opposing offenses – it was a sham.
This team was set back for 8 seasons, the defense could not create pressure, could not stop anyone on 3rd downs, none of the 3-4 “gurus” (Parcells, Phillips, Ryan) could make it work here in Dallas, and we wasted talent, and drafted several bust-type players trying to make it work.
Don’t get me wrong, Parcells turned this team around after we fell off the cliff, and he drafted some of our most recognizable players in franchise history, but we messed up going with the 3-4 for all these years. Previously, the 4-3 was a mainstay in Dallas, it was a trademark defensive scheme, we had great hall of fame players in that alignment and it helped us win several Super Bowls.
Obviously, our transition back to the 4-3 has been a bumpy one, but I truly believe our defense would be better if it wasn’t decimated by so many injuries to key position on the defensive line. Rod Marinelli has worked some amazing magic with some unknown players, and 2014 will likely be when we see some dominance not seen around here since our 90’s Super Bowl runs.
The 2013 draft was heavy on offense and I fully expect the 2014 draft will be heavy on defense. We have a few pieces in place now, but the draft will be how we rebuild the defensive line.
I want to wish Jay Ratliff the best, he was one of my favorite players, he was old school, scrappy, mean, and its just too bad he’s leaving under these circumstances. He gave his body for this team, and that needs to be acknowledged by the fans. Good luck Jay!