The Dallas Cowboys secondary has struggled for most of this season but, like the rest of the defense, have been a bit better the last couple of games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. Though they’ve shown some improvement, they’ve been hit by the injury bug, losing rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs for 4-6 weeks. That 4-6 weeks could very well mean the season if the Cowboys don’t have anything to play for in the last couple of weeks of the season.
While the loss of Trevon Diggs hurts, the Cowboys will get Chidobe Awuzie back from injured reserve this week to help a secondary that has missed his veteran leadership.
Mike McCarthy said Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie “looks great. I anticipate him being ready to go” Sunday vs. Vikings. Awuzie been sidelined since a Week 2 hamstring injury.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy when speaking to the media stated that the expectation is that Chidobe Awuzie will make his return to the lineup after sitting out since week two of the season.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Awuzie had only allowed four receptions. Per Pro Football Focus, he had only been targeted once every 11.7 snaps, which is the highest rate on the Cowboys. Obviously, it’s a smaller sample size because he hasn’t played the same amount of snaps, but it’s an improvement from how frequently he was being targeted in 2019 when he was targeted once every 6.7 snaps.
Aside from Trevon Diggs two interceptions, Awuize is the only other Cowboys cornerback to record an interception this season. The thought has been since the hiring of Mike Nolan and change in defensive backs coaches, that we could see an improved Chidobe Awuzie in 2020. However, the hamstring injury has delayed any real evaluation of Awuzie in this scheme.
With seven games remaining in the 2020 season, Awuize, like Xavier Woods and Jourdan Lewis, still has a lot to prove to the Dallas Cowboys or potential offseason suitors. Even though Trevon Diggs has looked good at times, he still has some growing to do to prove he can be a team’s top cornerback. That’s why it’s important for the Cowboys to see what Awuzie can do in this scheme down the stretch.
They’ll likely be going into the 2021 offseason looking to retool their secondary much like they did in 2017 when they overhauled the defensive back group through the draft. If Chidobe Awuzie is able to show he’s a better fit in this scheme than the previous one, it would allow the Cowboys to solidify their cornerback group with Awuzie, Trevon Diggs, and Anthony Brown for 2021. Even if the Cowboys look to draft a corner in next year’s draft, it would help to have a veteran presence available if their new cornerback isn’t ready to assume a starting role.
Against a Minnesota Vikings team that knocked off the Chicago Bears with a tremendous effort by rookie Justin Jefferson, the Cowboys will need Chdobe Awuzie to provide a solid performance in his return to the lineup.
With the NFC East still surprisingly up for grabs this deep into the season, the Cowboys have an opportunity to still win the NFC East and if they do, Chidobe Awuzie will have to be a big part of it.