Leon Lett: Cowboys’ defensive line will play like I did


As a defensive lineman on the Cowboys in the 1990s, Leon Lett was a Pro Bowler. Now Lett is the Cowboys’ assistant defensive line coach, and he thinks the new 4-3 Dallas defense is going to produce some more Pro Bowl linemen.

Lett was added to the Cowboys’ staff last year and has been retained for this season under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. And he says Kiffin’s system will allow him to teach his defensive linemen to play the position the same way he played it.

“In a 3-4 you did more of a read-and-react. This is more of a react-on-the-run — rush the quarterback and then react to the run on the way to the quarterback,” Lett said, via the Star-Telegram. “Kind of the same thing I did as a football player, so I’m kind of used to it, and I’m looking forward to teaching it and coaching it.”

Lett said the Cowboys’ defensive linemen are going to make more plays this season, and they’re excited about that.

“The 4-3 is more about a penetrating, we-get-to-eat-first type of deal. That’s what we’re calling it. We’re at the front of the food chain,” Lett said.

If the Cowboys’ defensive linemen play the game the way Lett played at his best, Dallas will be in good shape. Just as long as no one is taking cues from Lett on what to do after recovering a fumble or blocking a field goal.

35 responses to “Leon Lett: Cowboys’ defensive line will play like I did

  1. Leon, Teach them to hold on to the football until you cross the goal line. Also have them watch out for Don Beebe.

  2. You sure that’s a good thing, Leon? Maybe you should throw a little caveat in there and say that you want them to play like you, except for that one glaring play when you ran the ball back for a touchdown and you were too busy showboating to realize that someone was running up behind you and stripped the ball away before you got into the endzone. Kind of like that Einstein on the Eagles, Deshawn whatever his name is.

  3. Does that mean you will touch the ball on Thanksgiving and give the team a 2nd field goal attempt to win like you did for the Dolphins?

  4. I look for good things from the’boys this coming season. Leon was an outstanding lineman and is silly that he is remembered for just the 2 bone headed plays. This coming from a guy who was a fan of the Steve Young lead 9er’s who got out dueled for the crown too many times because of those teams.

  5. Lett was actually a very very good football player. If his high profile mistakes are how you judge his merit, you wouldn’t make for a very shrewd evaluator of player personnel.

    By the way, in the two years Lett made those admittedly ill-advised plays, the Cowboys won the Super Bowl – so they did not turn out to be costly to Dallas’s overriding goals for the ’92 and ’93 seasons.

  6. I can’t believe this dimwit is an NFL coach. That Jones would let this happen is yet another reason why the Boys continue to be passed by other teams in their division who make the playoffs (Eagles in 2010, Giants in 2011 and Skins in ’12). Bad organizational structure in Big D.

  7. Im no Cowboys fan, but 3 Super Bowls (and an NFC championship appearance) in 4 years and you people are saying they didnt have a good defensive line? You have some short memories, I think…although I sure cheered at Lett’s 2 most famous plays!

  8. I never hear anyone refer to an outstanding rookie defensive lineman as the next Leon Lett. I do hear “The Experts” refer to an outstanding rookie defensive lineman as the next Warren Sapp. All the time Son.

  9. To those who think Lett was only about those famous boneheaded plays, think again. He was big, strong and quick. One of Jimmy Johnson’s GREAT finds.

  10. That play in the super bowl had no bearing on the game. It was already 52-17 at the time. Lett was a very good football player.

  11. Say what you want. Lett is famous for two stupid plays, what I guess from reading this, most people aren’t aware that this guy was a beast in his prime. Athletic, quick, strong, and aggressive.

  12. Laugh at Leon if you want but the NFL has not seen a completely dominating team such at the cowboys in the early 90’s since then

  13. Regardless of Lett’s qualifications as a player or coach, the real question here is how Demarcus Ware will fit into the 4-3. He’s too small to play 4-3 DE, and playing 4-3 OLB will be a waste of his talents.

    For the record, I’m not passing judgment, just looking for thoughts.

  14. Leon Lett is the bomb! In his heyday he was called the best player on the Cowboys defense. He was quick, yet stong and agile. He could play end or tackle at a high level. If those linemen listen and learn from him, the Cowboys defensive line will be greatly improved.

  15. Leon Lett was a great football player and anyone who says different is stupid and doesn’t know the first thing about football. That being said, I think the Cowboys are heading down a very long and dangerous path. Jerry Jones as render Jason Garrett as a head coach in title only. He picked the entire staff himself and now he’s forcing Garrett to give up play calling. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. But, if your head coach doesn’t want to do that and you force him into doing it anyway that causes him to lose his lockeroom.

  16. benroethlisberger7 says: Feb 17, 2013 7:36 AM

    Um, he was pretty average in my book.
    Ah, yes. The Book of Blank Pages. The 4-3 is a better defense than the 3-4 against the offenses the Washington Aboriginals and Philadelphia Birds of Prey will be running, so it’s not surprising they made the switch. And for all we know, Lett might be a decent coach.

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