Injuries and poor play could force the Dallas Cowboys into making a few changes to their secondary heading into Week 12 against the New England Patriots. There's no easy answer as to how they should combat these problems, but whatever they decide to do could have a huge impact on not only the outcome of this game, but the rest of the season.
The first thing the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to figure out is what to do now that Cornerback Anthony Brown has landed on the Injured Reserve with a triceps injury. Fortunately No. 30's injury doesn't impact the starters seeing as how he was demoted to fourth on the depth chart a few weeks ago in favor for Jourdan Lewis. But, he was still a valued member of the secondary nonetheless.
The Cowboys have been fortunate to have a player like Anthony Brown on the roster these past several years. His starting experience on both the outside and in the nickel would've been invaluable as the fourth CB on the depth chart, but the Cowboys no longer have that luxury. Hopefully the top three CBs in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis can remain healthy, because if not anyone they bring in to replace AB is going to be a drop off in talent.
Anthony Brown's injury is of course concerning, but maybe not quite as much as what's going on right now at strong safety for the Dallas Cowboys. With Jeff Heath out the last couple of games the play at SS has dropped off pretty significantly. I know a lot of Cowboys Nation has been asking for No. 38 to lose his starting job for a while now, but you have to be careful what you wish for.
Darian Thompson has been the fill in with Jeff Heath out the past few games with a shoulder injury, but his play has been less than stellar, and that's putting it nicely. He was solid in Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings, but was somewhat of a liability last week against the Detroit Lions. Anyway you look at it though he's been a pretty big downgrade from Jeff Heath.
Things of course could improve if Jeff Heath can return to the starting lineup this week in time to take on the New England Patriots, but that's no sure thing right now. That could force the Dallas Cowboys into starting Darian Thompson once again, but his poor play could cause them to go a different direction as well.
It might actually be time for the Dallas Cowboys to finally turn to the former Texas A&M safety, Donovan Wilson. His impressive play in the preseason turned him into a fan favorite, but the coaching staff has yet to award him with the opportunity to make an impact in a regular-season game.
In such a big game, against one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position (Tom Brady), the Cowboys coaching staff may be reluctant to turn to a rookie though. A dark horse candidate to fill in may be former Green Bay Packers Safety, Josh Jones. He fits the mold more of a strong safety and has starting experience in the league, but even he is somewhat of an unknown.
As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys may be stuck between a rock and a hard place with the decisions they have to make about the current situation they find themselves in with their secondary. Jeff Heath returning to the starting lineup would fix most of this, but if he's unable to go once again whatever decision Dallas comes to could have a lasting impact.