The Dallas Cowboys have been terrible over the last three games and there is an assortment of reasons that can be identified. Most obvious is the recent struggles of second-year quarterback Dak Prescott. The play of the offense has been heinous as they continue the search for ways to move the ball. And when the offense suffers, the whole team suffers. The Cowboys just don’t have the arsenal of defensive playmakers to hang with teams when their own offense is not producing. While there have been different problems throughout the season, one of the issues that has lingered with them all year is the play of their secondary.
With four defensive backs (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox) leaving in free agency this offseason, the Cowboys knew they would be relying on some new faces to hold things down in the secondary. They selected four defensive backs in the draft that they were hoping they could gradually work them into the mix with veteran Orlando Scandrickand the promising second-year corner, Anthony Brown. Unfortunately, the play of Brown has been anything but encouraging.
The team thought they found a gem with their sixth-round selection last year. Brown had an outstanding rookie season when he got a heavy dose of reps due to injuries to Scandrick and Claiborne. But Brown has struggled immensely this year. One of the big issues with him is something that was evident on the scouting report coming out of college.Brown has been called for more penalties than any Cowboys player this season. He’s had a total of 10 penalties against him this season – five pass interference and five defensive holding penalties. Only one player in the league has more penalties than Brown. Something has to give here.With the likeliness of Brown being benched, this is going to open the door for the rookies to see more action. Jourdan Lewis, who has been solid this season, could slide in as the starter in their base defense. With fellow rookie Chidobe Awuzie finally healthy, he could see more action as well.
After giving up over 400 yards passing to Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers, it’s good to see some changes happening in the secondary. And with a possible move coming at safety, that could mean more snaps for rookie Xavier Woods. It doesn’t exactly make fans feel warm and fuzzy to have to rely more on the contribution of rookies, but Brown has been a total liability out there and it’s clearly a risk worth taking.
It’s good to see what this team has with their young defensive backs now so they have a better understanding of their needs going into the offensive. Giving Lewis, Awuzie, and Woods more playing time will allow them to do just that.