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Can Kris Richard Finally Tap Into Byron Jones’ Potential?

Brian Martin



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.

  • 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

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez



Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady



Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.

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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin



Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?

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