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Can Kris Richard Finally Tap Into Byron Jones’ Potential?

Brian Martin

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Sean's Scout: Evaluating Byron Jones at CB in Cowboys' Retooled Secondary

The Dallas Cowboys 2015 first-round draft pick Byron Jones is switching positions -- again.

On Monday, Byron Jones introduced himself as a "corner" at an event to promote the Dallas Rattlers, a professional lacrosse team who will call the Ford Center home.

It's been rumored that Jones would make the switch from safety to cornerback since the hiring of Kris Richard, but now it's official. It's always good to get confirmation, especially at this time of year when teams and players are using smokescreens to try to disguise any strategy in regards to the draft.

I personally believe this is the right move for both Byron Jones and what's best for the Dallas Cowboys secondary.

Byron Jones has spent the last two seasons playing safety. He showed promise in 2016 as rangy free safety. But unfortunately, he seemed to regress a little in 2017 when he was asked to take over for Barry Church as more of a box safety, eventually losing playing time to Kavon Frazier.

To me, this move has Kris Richard's fingerprints all over it. He prefers longer cornerbacks, something Byron Jones will give him on the outside. He had just that with the Seattle Seahawks in Richard Sherman, and now he has Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie.

There are high expectations for the Dallas Cowboys young secondary because of the hiring of Kris Richard. Maybe, just maybe, he is the coach that can finally tap into Jones' potential. Moving him to cornerback certainly seems like a step in the right direction.

Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

I don't know about you, but I love this decision. I've always believed Byron Jones' best position was cornerback and that the Dallas Cowboys were playing him at safety out of necessity. He wasn't completely terrible at safety, but I think he has a chance to excel at CB.

Now, I know the majority of you disagree with me. A lot of Cowboys Nation have already written off Byron Jones and proclaimed him as a bust. Fair or not, that's the way I hear him labeled by a lot of fans.

Personally, I believe it's unfair. I think the Cowboys coaching staff have done him a disservice and never allowed him to settle into one position. As a rookie in 2015 he played cornerback, safety, and even some dime linebacker. Then in 2016 he was moved to free safety, only to move moved again in 2017 to strong safety.

I don't know about you, but I think I would have a hard time learning a new job that requires different footwork, technique, and even mentality year after year.

I'm not trying to make excuses for Byron Jones or anything, but I do believe the move to CB will finally give him a chance to show off his rare athleticism. In fact, I'm counting on it and I believe the Dallas Cowboys are as well.

The hard part about all of this is trying to determine exactly how the Dallas Cowboys feel about their versatile defensive back. They have to make a decision about whether or not they want to exercise Byron Jones' fifth-year option by early May. Unfortunately, this position change complicates matters a little more.

What do you think about Byron Jones' move to cornerback?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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19 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Byron Jones has a clean slate with me starting this season. I acknowledge that the coaching staff misused him and he should get a fresh start at cornerback. If he does a good job then we should pick up his option. If not we should learn to stop drafting players based on their athleticism only. There’s no way he should have gone in the first round based on his combine performance.

    • Brian Martin

      Unfortunately, the Cowboys won’t get a chance to know what kind of CB Byron Jones can be before having to make a decision on picking up his fifth-year option. They have until May to make that decision. And, I was actually happy about the Cowboys drafting him in the first round in 2015. I thought he was the best player available, but always believed he was a CB, not a S. Hopefully he proves me right this season ha ha.

  • Nick Russo

    I agree with your take 100%. He has shown even at times while playing safety the ability to cover and his rookie season showed promise during the time he played corner. I also think he is best suited to play corner and the idea of him Chido, and Jourdan Lewis is very excited.

    • Brian Martin

      I think the Cowboys secondary has a chance to be really good this season. They might just end up being the strength of the entire defense.

      • Nick Russo

        Agreed, and their youth (including anthony brown) means that it can be a very solid unit for years to come. I like what our D-line looks like and when we add another LB in the draft, I think that unit will be strong as well. My only concern is safety right now, though I’m optimistic about a woods/Frazier pairing back there. I think our defense has the potential to be in the top half of the league

        • Brian Martin

          I think there are some safeties that should be available for the Cowboys in the second and third rounds who can come in and compete for the starting job. But, I’m also excited about Xavier Woods. Not really as excited about Frazier though.

          • Nick Russo

            Yea I wouldn’t hate if we were able to get a deshon Elliott from Texas in 3-4. Fair enough on Frazier, I personally like him but think that we can still add another player.

          • Brian Martin

            Don’t get me wrong, I like Frazier, but believe he’s more of a box safety and is limited in coverage.

          • EverybodyTalks

            Frazier, to me, is a box safety and continues to improve in that area. He can lay some wood and is one of the first ones downfield on special teams. I think that is why we never went after Tyrann Mathieu. We do need a free safety. I’ve heard the kid out of Wake Forest mentioned as a possible free safety.

  • nick

    I feel like he covered tight ends really well his rookie year, we all took notice when he did good on gronk. But the last couple of years it seems he had struggled often when covering some of them especially when jordan reed and was healthy. Zach ertz gave him fits too, along with others. I have my doubts about how he’s going to hold up against these Wr’s in the league. I hope Kris Richard can work his magic and make me a believer though. As young as chido and lewis are I’m really excited to see Richard work with them and develop them, I’m most excited about those 2 working with richard, especially after the solid rookie years they had.

    • Brian Martin

      I think the reason Byron Jones struggled against some of the tight ends you mentioned is because he kind of got out physicaled at times. We should see a role reversal now that he’ll be covering WRs. And, I’m also excited about the development of the Cowboys young CBs.

      • nick

        Ya that is true, they were much bigger than him, now he’ll be bigger and stronger than most of the WR’s. Come on Kris Richard work that magic. Just draft derwin James some how and pick up earl thomas after this season in FA and he’ll have his new LOB in dallas, what do you think Bryan, should I wake up from my dream haha ?

        • Brian Martin

          I’m not holding out any hope of adding Earl Thomas or Derwin James, but I believe there are some safeties in rounds 2-4 who can come in and help. I also don’t like the idea of trading up. I’d much rather trade down and draft four players in the top 100 who can contribute right away.

    • Brian Martin
  • oneputter

    jones can’t cover TE’s and we’re going to expect him to cover faster WR’s as a corner, he’ll need to play like 15 yds off the ball. as stated here by someone else, he played ok as a rookie covering TE’s but since then has failed to improve.

    he can’t tackle, is afraid to hit, usually grabs at opponents, i just don’t see it in him and never have.

    he is only going to take reps away from the younger guys, time to move on

  • EverybodyTalks

    I think they should give Byron his 5th year option. He is a good soldier. He did what they asked. Played nearly every game (I think he has missed 4 games). Byron was never given the opportunity to p[lay to his strengths. We have the Legion of Boom coach walk through the door and the first thing Kris says to Byron – “Your playing cornerback.” When I heard that story, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I think Byron playing against TEs is a plus. He won’t be bullied by any WRs. He handles the initial strikes when they attempt to push off. It’s like he absorbs it. I think Byron will find his home at CB.

  • Brian Martin

Star Blog

Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

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Neutral Perspective: Dak Prescott is NOT a 1-Man Army

It doesn’t take a lot to cause an overreaction in the NFL, and fans and the media alike can be very fickle. Thus, when the Dallas Cowboys were beaten by the Carolina Panthers in week one the discussions surrounding their title credentials began, and even more so because Dak Prescott and his Cowboys offense was only able to score 8 points. He left the stadium still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season and wondering what went wrong.

By all accounts, Prescott wasn’t great, and his quarterback rating of 81.1 reflects that. His performance left the fans concerned and some asserting there were no shades of the Prescott of 2016. Nonetheless, a quarterback has to be helped by his offensive line, and allowing him to get sacked six times shows that improvement is needed up front.

In week 2, against the New York Giants, Prescott started the game with a booming 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavon Austin on the first series of the game. It was a play four whole quarters of football in the making and made fans explode in celebration following the lackluster performance against CAR. Prescott's rating jumped to 95.4 and he wasn't sacked during the contest. Even still, he threw the ball for 10 fewer yards than in week 1 and was 1.5% less on his completion percentage too.

Prescott’s best defense is the Cowboys' lack of stand-out wide receivers. The loss of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant – neither of whom has adequately been replaced – is the biggest cause of this perceived fall from grace. Those departures have undeniably created a problem, but one that many great quarterbacks over the years have managed to overcome.

While the doom and gloom felt by Cowboys Nation after week 1 has abated some with a victory over New York, for a franchise that has enjoyed the often wow-worthy play of Tony Romo, Dak Prescott has a way to go yet, to say the least.

Dak Prescott's Top 10 Plays of the Dallas Cowboys' 2016 Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The current situation is difficult for the Cowboys, but there are also psychological mitigations. One of these is their presence in a division with the reigning Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles.

This has long since put the Cowboys on the back foot in the futures betting markets, with an average moneyline price of +210 that makes them the least likely team to win the NFC East division. Unlike betting on individual games themselves, the futures market is a starker reflection of a team's form, rather than the more reactionary moneyline prices on individual games.

Criticism, from experts and fans alike, always intensifies after a defeat, and starting the season off at 1-1 isn't always enough to overcome said criticism. So too will the moneyline price of the Cowboys besting the Eagles lengthen, although the rewards for keeping faith in the Cowboys to do that – if they somehow do – will be all the more greater if they proceed to underachieve.

NFC East Preview 2018 | T2F Podcast

On this episode, we are joined by Jon Cassel, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, to discuss each team in the NFC East (Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles) going into the 2018 season. SUBSCRIBE to T2F for more football content! SUPPORT us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Time2Football Follow us on social media!

Dak Prescott Needs Support Like Never Before

The likes of Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns aren’t going to be reaching the Hall of Fame, but they are more than capable of helping Dallas score more than 8 points in a game. Take away the opening-drive shot from week 2, the only TD pass Dak has thrown in 2018, and the Cowboys scored just 13 points against the Giants. It's hardly confidence inspiring, yet.

There have been numerous points so far where the Prescott of 2016 would have found the receiver, but for whatever reason, those throws just aren’t being made with any consistency right now. That is especially bad considering the breathing room that is given by an elite level running back, which can be found in the form of Ezekiel Elliott.

Zeke got the ball 15 times for 69 yards against CAR and 17 times for 78 yards against NYG, both of which have to be less than he would have liked. Yet, the Panthers were out to stop him, specifically, and the Cowboys offensive line couldn’t cope, which allowed Elliott to lack effectiveness and their quarterback to be put to the ground half a dozen times. The opening drive against the Giants certainly helped alleviate pressure on Prescott, but it's clear that the defense beat the Giants, overall.

These, however, are problems that an offensive coordinator needs to overcome, and Scott Linehan didn’t cover himself in glory either.

Ultimately, above all else, there seems to be a bit of disunity within the offense. The receivers feel unloved, the running backs face a lot of defenders on each play, and the quarterback must improve his accuracy.

These situations are where you need creative play calling and a unique approach.

Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott: Top 5 Moments of The 2016 Cowboys Season

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Spirit of 2016 Can Still Make an Impact

With every defeat, the next game is hugely important, in the mind if not on paper. If the Cowboys can step up and convincingly rack up some wins, then – as ever – it will start to go quiet.

One aspect that sometimes goes overlooked is the defense. Conceding 16 points against Carolina and 13 against New York should usually be more than low enough to secure a win. Thus, if the Cowboys keep up that level of performance, then they should win a lot more games than they lose. But that's because most offenses in the NFL are capable of scoring 20-or-more points a game. With the Cowboys defense performing as they have been thus far, the onus is on the offense the close out games.

There's a reason the quarterback position is regarded far above all others, and Prescott needs to carry the team with him to keep that winning feeling in the Cowboys’ locker room.

He needs to give the opposition’s defensive line more to think about, and make them fear the pass as much as Elliott’s or his own rushing ability. That will give his receivers more confidence and Elliott more space. If his offensive line isn’t doing its job then he and Linehan need to think of ways to get the ball out quickly and on target.

Doom and gloom often surrounds any first loss of a season, but if Prescott and Elliott can work together as they did in their first win of the season, then it’s going to be very hard to beat them, especially if their defense keeps playing to such high standards as they have.

Regardless, the Super Bowl is anything but a lock at this point, and the problems need to be fixed quickly, before "distant" becomes mathematically "impossible."



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Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

Brian Martin

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Can WR Brice Butler Help Improve Cowboys Passing Game?

In a somewhat confusing move, the Dallas Cowboys decided to re-add Wide Receiver Brice Butler to the roster in order to get something more out of the passing game, which to be honest has been pretty putrid in the first two games of the 2018 season. Something needed to be done, but I'm not sure that Butler is the answer.

I'm going to agree with my fellow Staff Writer, Jess Haynie, in saying that the Cowboys decision to reunite with Brice Butler makes no sense. Jess is actually much more polite than I would've been when I initially found out about this transaction. I personally hate the move and I'm not afraid to say it. But ultimately, it wasn't my decision to make and the only thing that really matters here is whether or not Butler can help improve the passing game?

With all of the questions surrounding the Cowboys receivers, Butler's addition just adds another one. Unfortunately, we are two games into the 2018 season and the receiver position still remains the biggest unknown. No one has really stepped up their game and with the exception of Tavon Austin's touchdown catch last week, there hasn't been any big plays in the passing game.

I don't really know how Brice Butler is supposed to improve things. Is he supposed to be the "go to" receiver now? Is he any better than what the Cowboys already have on the roster? Or, will he end up being more of a progress stopper? Like I said, he just adds more questions to be answered.

I for one don't see any upside in adding Butler. Yes, Quarterback Dak Prescott has a bond with him, but nothing ever really materialized there when #19 was here previously. He showed flashes, like he has at all of his stops in the NFL, but his inconsistencies couldn't convince the coaching staff to play him more. So, what's changed?

Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Brice Butler

The obvious answer here would be the subtraction of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the passing game. That's quite a bit of production missing that has yet to be accounted for. But again, I am still not buying into the Butler addition as a solution.

I know it sounds like I'm slamming Brice Butler pretty hard, but there was a time when I wanted to see him on the field more. Like many of you, the past few seasons I wanted to see him receive a promotion over Terrance Williams, but unfortunately that never happened. But, that was then and this is now.

Personally, I would much rather see Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, or Michael Gallup be worked more into the offensive game plan. I just feel that we have already seen what Brice Butler has to offer and it just wasn't good enough for him to stick around before. It's time to move forward, not back.

There is a reason Butler was a free agent. I mean, he wasn't even good enough to stick with Arizona Cardinals, who probably have more problems at WR than the Cowboys. But who knows? Maybe I'll end up being wrong and he'll finally play up to his true potential and talent. Wouldn't that be great?

Now, this is just one person's opinion, but I just don't see Brice Butler improving the passing game for the Dallas Cowboys. I think the only way that happens is if Dak Prescott reaches the next phase in his development. Until then, I don't see things improving much. But, that's an article for another time.

How do you feel about the Dallas Cowboys reuniting with Brice Butler?



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Despite Seattle’s Record, Sunday Is No Cakewalk For Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a game-ending pick six on national television Monday night, all of Cowboys Nation was suddenly giddy.

Somehow, the team which looked completely lost and inept offensively to open the season was now staring down a chance at a 3-1 start if they could take care of back-to-back winless teams.

The first of those winless foes being the Seattle Seahawks.

Though the last 5 years or so have conditioned us to believe that Seattle is a defensive minded, physical football team, more recent history suggests they’ve fallen off quite a bit. No longer are prime Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor patrolling their secondary, or are waves of top tier defensive linemen cycling through during the game.

Now, the Seahawks are defined by a shaky offensive line, a lack of playmakers on the perimeter, and Russell Wilson hero-ball.

It’s an odd, and typically ineffective formula for winning games, but it’s the one the 0-2 Seahawks are currently stuck with.

Despite all of this, however, Sunday’s game will be an important test for the Cowboys. Though they were favored by 3 points last week, this game is the first time in 2018 that Dallas is truly “expected” to win. Ironically, they come in as Vegas underdogs, but it’s difficult to find informed football analysts who are on Seattle this Sunday.

This, of course, has more to do with how poor Seattle has played to open their season, but they’ve still been incredibly competitive in both losses, losing both games by just one possession.

Going to Seattle and getting a win is a task teams have dreaded for years, even before Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom brought the Seahawks back to relevancy.Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Now when you add in factors such as this being Seattle’s home opener, and that they will be desperately fighting to avoid a potential season-killing 0-3 start, this is shaping up to be a very tough test for the Cowboys.

The young Cowboys need to handle their business the next two weeks and take advantage of 0-2 conference foes. These games will be huge down the stretch for potential playoff tie breakers and give them a chance to “fatten up” before entering the more challenging parts of their schedule.

Like two match ups with the Philadelphia Eagles, and running the rest of the NFC South gauntlet during the later months of the year.



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