Anthony Brown started his 42nd career game for the Dallas Cowboys last night; a true achievement for any player taken in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. But that's probably the only nice thing you can say after the cornerback struggled mightily and was a major contributor in Dallas' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Anthony got worked over by Tampa QB Tom Brady and WR Antonio Brown in the early portion of the game. By the end of the night, statistics showed the Cowboys' corner was almost completely useless against the Bucs' receivers.
Anthony Brown's coverage numbers as the nearest defender to the target:
5-5, 116 yards, TD.
(NFL Next Gen Stats)
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 10, 2021
#Cowboys CB Anthony Brown was targeted 10 times vs. TB.
He allowed 9 receptions for 134 yards and 1 TD.
Brown also missed three tackles, according to @PFF.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 10, 2021
Bro.. You can’t leave Anthony Brown on AB in man coverage. You’re asking him to do the impossible. He can’t cover him, particularly if he is going to open the gate at the line and make it a track meet. DQ has to know his personnel and call the game accordingly #DALvsTB
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) September 10, 2021
Even if 2nd-round rookie Kelvin Joseph was healthy and not currently on IR, Brown would likely have still started this game as a reliable veteran. But last night was a painful reminder that Anthony, while a reliable backup, is not someone you want going up against premiere NFL receiving talent on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, Dallas' investments at CB this year haven't had time to mature. Joseph and Nahshon Wright might be joining Trevon Diggs in the top three one day but right now it's the veterans Brown and Jourdan Lewis getting those snaps.
Everyone is entitled to a bad night and Brown has had good moments in his five NFL years. Last night's performance might not cost him the starting job immediately, but it could lead to more opportunities for Maurice Canady and the rookies in the very near future.
2021 is likely Anthony Brown's last season in Dallas; a projected salary cap casualty in 2022. Hopefully he can improve from what we saw against Tampa Bay or else he may wind up spending much of it on the bench.