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Can the Cowboys Secondary be a Unit of Strength This Season?

DeMarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch have all performed at Pro Bowl/All-Pro levels in recent history for the Dallas Cowboys defense. That covers the front seven, but the success hasn’t been as good in the secondary.

The unit took a huge blow in free agency losing starters Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, making the priority of revamping the secondary even more paramount before the 2020 season kicks off. They started by going back into the free-agent market and added veteran Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who played under new Head Coach Mike McCarthy for five seasons in Green Bay. Also, they brought in cornerback Maurice Canady who spent 2019 with the New York Jets as a nice depth piece.

In the NFL Draft, the Cowboys came in like a thief in the night and stole ball-hawking cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson in the second and fourth rounds. Days later, the Cowboys got more depth when they signed veteran cornerback Darly Worley who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

Now, factoring in these additions plus Xavier Woods, Jourdan Lewis, Anthony Brown, Donovan Wilson, and Darian Thompson the Cowboys are a lot better off in the secondary than they’ve been in a while from a talent standpoint. However, there is something else that could make them even more effective, their retooled defensive front.

Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe were signed in free agency to be the anchors on the interior. To kick off April, they signed Defensive End Aldon Smith on a one-year deal, who just recently got conditionally reinstated after a five-year absence and is looking to rejuvenate his career after battling personal issues.

The Cowboys hit the interior in the draft by selecting Neville Gallimore out of Oklahoma in the third round and added edge help with two-time PAC-12 All-American Bradlee Anae in the fifth round out of Utah.

With the league no longer suspending players for positive marijuana tests under the new CBA, Randy Gregory has a great chance of getting reinstated to be another rusher off the edge to complement DeMarcus Lawrence. Also, you certainly can’t forget Tyrone Crawford, Trysten Hill, and Antwaun Woods who provide even more strength to the unit.

As we all know, the more effective your pass rush is the less time a quarterback will have to throw which means your secondary won’t have to cover as long. The Cowboys have the bodies on the defensive line to really be productive collectively, and if they’re successful, we could see the most effective Cowboys secondary in a long time.

What do you think?

Matthew Lenix

Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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  1. The problem is that all the players mentioned have trouble with either injuries or behaviors that make them suspect.
    LVE..let’s see if he can actually play at all . Cervical narrowing is a great risk to try and play linebacker
    Jalen Smith…is the knee deteriorating further
    Sean Lee…we know he cannot play much without injury
    DeMarcus Lawrence…will the shoulder ever be ok
    The rest…older guys that have to show they still have something and suspended guys that would be extremely exceptional if they dont need at least half a season to get back to productive play.Asecondary could ting on rookies and former backups.
    This is a rag tag group that will be Nolan’s great challenge to form into a working defense. The trouble is the Boys reasonably could be 0-4 before the defense can get together .

  2. YES YES YES & YES!!!, Big D came into this draft (2020) and desperately needed to hit a HR and bye gosh I believe they hit a Grand Slam!!! BUT! Only time will tell because the more all the guys you mentioned Matthew gets PT the better they will get and have the golden opportunity to impress the new coaching staff and make their marks on this team! I believe Diggs will play a lot this yr. Robinson will def make the team and may make his mark as well. Gallimore will have the GOLDEN opportunity to learn from a couple of studs ( McCoy & Poe), he will make strides IMO and leap frog T. Hill on the depth chart and make one of the rotations! Anae will have a an uphill battle, but will make the team! For our 1st round pick in 2020, the HYPE that comes with unlocking the Vault and the #88 Jersey comes with the expectations! Lamb may be dominant then again it may take him a while to adjust. I’m just looking forward to watching and seeing what all we got on offense and how everything is gonna click with McCarthy’s spin with Kellen Moore offense and maybe just maybe a 6th ring is on the way!

  3. Well i think of all of our units the secondary has least chance to be strong as we lost our best cover CB (JONES) will be starting a rookie (DIGGS) and incorporating a new safety (DIX) yea i know i said DIX. Not sure who covers opponents #1 receiver. Another factor people don’t talk bout much is we have a new head coach and several new position coaches not to mention several new starters, especially on Defense. How quickly all that comes together will detetmine our season.

    • The question about who will cover opposing WR1’s can be interesting. I’ve given some thought to that lately and I think this could be one of the reason that Auzie could get moved to safety (though I’d like to give him one more shot at CB personally under a new scheme). My thinking is that while here in DAL, Awuzie has always been the LCB (Jones never chased the No.1 WR either). From what I’ve see (mostly) of Diggs, is that he too was primarily a LCB? If Diggs shows himself well, then Awuzie has to be considered for RCB (which he hasn’t really done here yet), slot CB (he’s capable, but not twitchy), or safety (still can’t tell how serious of a consideration this is … outside of the media’s thoughts). I also haven’t gone back to look at either McCarthy’s or Nolan’s tendencies regarding whether they assign a CB1 to a WR1 either. This would be a good next artice for someone for detail for us … (hint, hint)

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