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The great unknown of the Dallas Cowboys is their defense

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There are a lot of questions still surrounding the Dallas Cowboys and a lot of them have been focused towards the offensive side of the ball.

Who will replace DeMarco Murray's offensive production? Can La'el Collins make a push for a starting job and at what position? Can Tony Romo stay healthy throughout the entire season? What will happen with Dez Bryant's contract situation?

under the radar

All of these are great questions that will be answered in time, but no one seems to be paying too much attention to what is going on on the defensive side of the ball.

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To tell the truth, it is pretty understandable that the majority of people focus on how their favorite team's offense is going to perform each season. The entire NFL is pretty much geared to help the offense be able to make big plays with the way the schools are in the NFL.

Pass interference, defensive holding, illegal hits on the quarterback, and unnecessary roughness are all penalties that can be devastating for a defense and could ultimately change field position.

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That is one of the reasons why the Cowboys have focused on improving the defense this off-season and why more people should be focusing on how the defense is going to perform in 2015.

As the saying goes, "defense wins championships".

Pass rushers

So let's take a look at how the Dallas Cowboys pass rush looks to improve in 2015.

The Dallas Cowboys defense could look drastically different in 2015. The Cowboys were serious when they said they were going to make improving the defense a top priority after the conclusion of the 2014 season. There will be a lot of new additions on the defensive side of the ball when the Cowboys take the field in week 1.

Defensive Coordinator Rob Marinelli likes his "rush men" to harass opposing quarterbacks. This position could possibly be the one position on the Cowboys roster that has been upgraded the most.

The Cowboys signed arguably the best pass rusher on the open market in Greg Hardy during the off-season.

Even though there was a lot of scrutiny surrounding the signing, Hardy's addition could help improve the Cowboys pass rush that was almost nonexistent at times last season. It is still unknown exactly how many games Hardy will miss, but when he does finally take the field look for him to start harassing opposing quarterbacks.

During the 2015 NFL Draft the Cowboys came away with two defensive ends that could possibly make an immediate impact early on with the Cowboys defense.

Randy Gregory fell all the way to the Cowboys in the second round due to his failed drug test for marijuana while at Nebraska and again at the 2015 NFL combine. His pass rushing talent is unquestionable, but his slight frame is not ideal to play in the Cowboys 4-3 defense as a defensive end.

Gregory could possibly be used as a pass rush specialist in 2015 until he is able to add to his slight frame with a full season in the Cowboys strength and conditioning program.

The other rookie pass rusher added in the 2015 draft, Ryan Russell, could also have a role on the Cowboys defense. Although Russell might not be a starter on day one he could have an impact on the defense because Marinelli likes to rotate his defensive line in and out to keep them fresh throughout the game and continually pressuring the opposing quarterbacks.

Chances to impress

Jeremy Mincey could possibly start at one of the defensive end positions, too. Mincey is one of the leaders of the defense even though it is only his second year with the Cowboys. Mincey's versatility could see him lining up with different positions along the defensive line. Mincey can play defensive end on rushing downs and then he kicked inside to the defensive tackle position on passing downs to rush the quarterback.

DeMarcus Lawrence could possibly make a big jump in his second year. Lawrence could possibly be the only surefire starter at the defensive end position. Lawrence showed what he could possibly be capable of against the Detroit Lions in the playoffs, when he sealed the game with the second sack. Coaches have raved about the work he has put in during the off-season and hope it carries over season starts.

DeMarcus Lawrence has used the voluntary workouts to strengthen his legs and his power and explosiveness off the ball in hopes to improve his first step quickness.

"Trying to lift to get stronger everyday," said Lawrence, "and flip it all to the field."

Tyrone Crawford looks to improve upon his 2014 season as the starting three technique on the Cowboys defense. With a full off-season as three technique he should be able to improve upon his overall 2014 statistics by focusing on just one position. Look for Crawford to have a big impact on the defensive line for the Cowboys in 2015.

Marinelli really likes to rotate his defensive line in and out of the game to keep them from wearing down and the Cowboys finally have some players that could possibly boost the overall talent of the position and harass opposing quarterbacks.

Others to watch

These are just a few guys that could be key contributors for the Cowboys defense of 2015, but also keep an eye on guys like Jack Crawford, Ben Gardner, Terrell McClain, Chris Whaley, and Devon Coleman to help with the Cowboys rotation along the defensive line.

An improved pass rush will improve the overall defense in 2015 by allowing linebackers to make plays on the ball and helping the secondary by making the quarterback get rid of all more quickly.

If the defense truly does win championships than look for the Cowboys to play deeper into the playoffs and possibly make it to the Super Bowl.

Is there a certain player that you are looking to help the defense the most in 2015?

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