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Cowboys’ CB Chidobe Awuzie Impressive In First Full-Time Action

Brian Martin

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If I'm being completely honest, there was really only one reason I was looking forward to watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins Thursday night. I wanted to see how rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie played now that he is finally healthy.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting a lot from Chidobe Awuzie this season after the Cowboys drafted him with their second round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he has battled reoccurring hamstring issues that has all but wiped out his season up to this point. His inability to stay healthy and get on the field has been one of the major disappointments for me this season.

That is why I was really looking forward to seeing Awuzie back on the field in his first full-time action this season. Luckily, he didn't disappoint and already looks like arguably the best CB on the Cowboys roster.

The Dallas Cowboys played a total of 60 defensive snaps against the Redskins Thursday night. Only Jeff Heath (56) played more snaps than Chidobe Awuzie (53). Awuzie finished the night with three tackles and three pass breakups, which doesn't seem like much, but his impact was definitely felt on the field.

Let's take a look at the impact the 22-year-old rookie out of Colorado made against the Washington Redskins Thursday night.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

This is pretty good coveragwe by #Cowboys rookie DB Chidobe Awuzie. Watch him swipe at the ball at the end of this play. https://t.co/cR4B8MCZBW

The clip above is an excellent example of Awuzie's talent and awareness. Not only is he in perfect position by having the WR in his hip pocket, but he goes up to high point the ball and swipes with his hand to ensure an incompletion. This couldn't have possibly been played better, which is a testament to #33's talent.

Let's take a look at another example of Awuzie's impact in the game against Washington.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Chidobe Awuzie played one heckuva game. https://t.co/l4FcEoD0tH

Awuzie wasn't in the best position against Josh Doctson on this play and it should have been an easy completion. But, Chidobe doesn't give up on the play and is able to knock the ball out of Doctson's hands forcing the incompletion and near fumble. This is a great example of Awuzie's awareness and playmaking ability. But, he made an even better play a little later in the game.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

More of Chidobe Awuzie in his first start. https://t.co/mZCn4xTzVr

On this particular play Chidobe Awuzie looks to be in man coverage on Redskins WR Ryan Grant. Awuzie recognizes that Grant is breaking off his route to the inside to try to pick up the first down. He quickly plants his foot in the ground and makes a beeline for Grant arriving just as the ball does. Awuzie uses proper technique and sticks his left arm out to break up the pass, while using his right arm to wrap around Grant for the tackle if need be.

As you can see, Chidobe Awuzie had a heck of a debut as a full-time starter. In fact, he already looks like the best CB currently on the Cowboys roster. This probably couldn't have come at a better time with Orlando Scandrick expected to miss some time due to a back injury he sustained and played through Thursday night.

If Awuzie can remain healthy the rest of the season, he upgrades the entire Cowboys secondary and improves the entire defense. I'm personally expecting big things from him the remainder of the season.

What did you think of Chidobe Awuzie's full-time debut?


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.

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42 Comments
  • Andy Walker

    I wish you all the best, Brian! Awuzie looked outstanding. He has great closing speed as well!

    • pdstix78

      Dude looked good last night, like a godsend. Keep AB on the bench and they’ll be fine

      • Brian Martin

        I think Anthony Brown might end up in the slot. I think that’s his better position anyway.

        • Albert Smith

          Yeah, my thoughts exactly Brian, possibly in the slot with Cheedo and Lew on the outside. They’ll probably still have some sort of rotation though.

          • Brian Martin

            It looks like they might play Byron Jones more at CB as well.

          • Albert Smith

            I’ve been waiting and wanting that because I felt he had too much of a load on him. Fan’s have been upset with his play but it’s because they wouldn’t just put him in one spot, it’s great he can do multiple things but sometimes you just let players play and draft accordingly I thought he could be a great boundary CB with his size and athleticism so I’m down.

          • Brian Martin

            I haven’t really had a problem with his play at safety. He is definitely more of a coverage player than a hitter, but I don’t have a problem with that. I do think he might be better at CB, but we will have to wait and see.

          • Albert Smith

            Agreed

          • Brian Martin
          • Assassin

            always thought Jones was out of position at FS. seems more natural to CB. Hopefully we’ll see some of that before the end of the year and a lot next year. this is his third year, contracts up at the end of 18 unless we take the club option. also hes been the slot guy/te cover before. with Scandrick out, maybe thats part of what he does

          • Brian Martin

            I think Jones should’ve been playing the single high safety where he can use his range and athleticism.

          • Tommy Davis

            Good stuff folks, Awuzie and J. Lewis are excellent on the outside, Scanrick and Brown are not good covering outside receivers and are both best suited covering the slot receivers. Jones has been playing out of position, he should have been playing deep safety instead of J. Heath who does not have closing speed and misses too many tackles. Woods is a good cover safety, but he’s too small for my liking. We have talented D.backs, we just need to put them in the correct positions and play the most talented instead of the most experienced. Scanrick, Heath,Jones and Brown are the most experienced and are the reason for the awful play of the secondary. Jerry Jones commented that when Awuzie, Lewis, and Woods were on the field together, the secondary was awesome. There is no reason that this should not be the norm going forward.

          • Brian Martin
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    • Brian Martin

      Thanks Andy. Awuzie did look pretty good. I just hope he is able to keep it up and stay healthy. He definitely makes the defense better.

    • Brian Martin
  • Hobbes49

    Awuzie played really strong last night. I think he and Lewis have a chance to be a top 5 CB tandem in the coming years. Chido has great recognition skills, and reacts to the ball better than we have seen in a long while. Just needs to stay healthy.

    • Brian Martin

      I really liked what I saw from Awuzie. I think he would’ve been a starter the entire season if he would’ve been able to stay healthy. It’s definitely starting to look as if the Cowboys succeeded in making over their secondary, at least at the CB position.

      • Michael Barthel

        I love what I saw from awuzie played a hell of a game but I want to see what he does against better receivers. Dotson isn’t bad but he not the greatest either. I want to see him week 15 against either Cooper or Crabtree.

        • Brian Martin

          I don’t see him having any problems with either Cooper or Crabtree. I don’t know if they’re that much better then Doctson, just more experienced.

          • Michael Barthel

            Cooper is just having a bad year but he is very good. Awuzie scandrick and Lewis should start from here on out. Also like to see Marquez white too he was outstanding at Florida State. I believe Dallas gets rid of dez or ask for a pay cut. I think we draft a wide receiver. Off subject sorry lol but I think we will see alot of personell changes next year. New receivers corners safeties and linebackers. This defense can be very good if we play the way we played last night and the rotations. I think Benson mawoya is gone next year. I think you will see the depth get better next year. Hitchens Lawrence Irving Morris all need resigned that way they can focus on backup offensive lineman linebackers receivers and secondary in free agency and draft

          • Brian Martin

            Cooper is having a pretty bad year, but he has always had a problem with drops. I don’t know what to think about Dez Bryant. I don’t really think he has lost a step, but the production is there. And you’re right, I think we will see a lot of personnel changes.

      • Brian Martin
    • Brian Martin
  • Steve Johnson

    Waiting for Woods and Lewis to turn the page also it is coming.

  • Russ_Te

    It was thought at draft that Awuzie was a 1st round value, and largely made up for what may have been a reach with Taco.

    However with Irving proving a dominant force at DT and Lawrence possibly cashing in his year in free agency, next year’s DL might include Taco starting at LDE. He looks trimmer to me than his college scouting clips, and Lawrence’s rise proves it’s all about mastering technique. So I am now thinking Taco
    can prove out.

    Back to the secondary. We saw how a shuffle facilitated by Awuzie’s return, can make a major difference. For me the next best thing to see besides Awuzie’s play was Frazier’s. He can hit, and there is a lot of possible upside relative to what we have had with Heath.

    Scandrick flipped to outside CB while Jones worked the slot. I think that is reversed from what they will settle on. You need to start Woods at FS, and deploy Scandrick at his optimal slot CB position. That would put Jones at CB, and he has the talent to do it well IMO. I think he was moved inside too quickly in his career and didn’t get a full look at CB.

    If Jones were good outside this could be a quality starting 4. Brown is looking like a dime corner, and we don’t know much yet about Lewis.

    With offseason needs at OT, WR, RDE and LB, the secondary may only get another big talent if such a player falls down the draft. But seeing the boost it got from Awuzie was more than a welcome sight.

  • Raul Hernandez

    This guy looks like a cheetah on steroids when he is closing the gap between him and an offensive player. He’s talented and reads the offense like a book.

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    He played really good and wish him only the best he will be the upgrade Cowboys need it at the CB position. Thanks we need some fresh blood.

Dallas Cowboys

2018 Cowboys: What can we Expect from the Rookies?

Shane Carter

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Cowboys Offense: Finding Roles for 2018 NFL Draft Picks 1

Every season, rookies come in with the pressures of being the future of the franchise and are often expected by everyone to be able to contribute right away. The Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Not many of these rookies will be day-one starters, but most will be given the opportunity to take playing time away from some of the veterans.

The team is without Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Orlando Scandrick after years with the team. This season, there will be new faces getting more time due to the huge holes left by the departure of their aging vets.

Some rookies are going to be asked to start right away, while others are only going to play selectively. It's probable that all will see the field at some point this season, but only a few will need to make an immediate impact from day one.

Leighton Vander Esch

2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Cowboys will  probably start off with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson as the starters in the linebacker group. This means Leighton Vander Esch likely will come off the bench to fill in at both the MIKE and WILL linebacker spots in rotation.

It's uncertain which spot will be his spot for the future, but with the health history of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, Vander Esch is going to see plenty of time this season. Going forward, his true spot will reveal itself the more he plays.

Connor Williams

For Connor Williams, Being Shoulder to Shoulder with Tyron Smith is Nothing New

Cowboys G Connor Williams

Connor Williams is the only rookie that I'm comfortable saying is a day-one starter.

The only hole in the starting group among the offensive line was the left guard. Williams comes off a stellar college career at Texas where he only allowed one sack in his time there. Not only does Williams fill the final spot along the line, he could potentially be the next pro bowl offensive lineman among a group of already elite players.

His priority will be at left guard, but with the injury history to Tyron Smith, he also gives the Cowboys some extra insurance at left tackle. Connor Williams is not only a starter right away, but is probably the team's most valuable rookie.

Michael Gallup

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What Dak Prescott needed was players who are good at route running, separating from coverage and that don't drop passes. Michael Gallup checks all three boxes.

The starting trio of wide receivers at the moment looks like Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams on the outside, with Cole Beasley in the slot. I think it's likely that we see Gallup play all over the field given his versatility and Dallas's need for play-makers.

Gallup was among my top-5 best wide receiver prospects in the draft, so hopefully it doesn't sound too biased when I say, I expect Gallup to be one of Dak's most frequently targeted receivers this season.

The team doesn't have Dez Bryant, Brice Butler or Ryan Switzer anymore and the team needs to find their next number one. Gallup will be given a shot throughout the year to be just that.

Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Sean's Scout: Defensive End Dorance Armstrong Has Upside to Fill Marinelli's RotationThe good news for Dorance Armstrong's development is also bad news for his playing time; the Cowboys are flushed with defensive end talent and won't need his help very much right away.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, David Irving and Kony Ealy on the roster, it will be hard for Armstrong to get on the field much.

He likely won't get a lot of playing time this year, almost as a defacto red-shirt year, but he can use it as quality learning time and play some when needed.

Dalton Schultz

Sean's Scout: TE Dalton Schultz Fits Cowboys Need as Willing Blocker

Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz may have lucked into a starting job. The retirements of James Hanna and Jason Witten created a huge gap for the Cowboys at their number one and two starting tight end spots. The team also has Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim on the roster, but it'll be interesting to see if Schultz not only has the blocking skills to take the number one spot, but also the receiving skills to do so.

The team may end up keeping all four tight ends but Schultz might be given every opportunity possible to earn a starting spot. If not, he'll take over Geoff Swaim's role as the third tight end, who only comes in on special teams and sub packages.

The hope is the former but he's going to see the field no matter what due to the large need at the position.

Mike White

Dallas Cowboys Draft QB Mike White With 171st Pick

Cowboys QB Mike White

Mike White was brought in to compete with Cooper Rush for the team's number two quarterback spot. He has the ball skills to compete for the position but he'll start off as the team's third string quarterback.

If he can push Rush the way Rush pushed Kellen Moore last season, the team may go another direction yet again at the back up position.

As a rookie, he may be stuck as the third quarterback, meaning he won't see any action at all in 2018, even in blowouts. He also likely won't be put on the practice squad neither, likely being too valuable of a prospect to let go. Don't expect to see White this season, aside from preseason.

Chris Covington

Dallas Cowboys Select LB Chris Covington With the 193rd Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Cowboys LB Chris Covington

Chris Covington gives the team valuable depth for the linebacker group. Except for injury, Covington will only be used on special teams or rotations. He was a late round pick, meaning he needs more time to develop than some of the other picks.

He may get his shot at a starting job in a year or two, but 2018 probably isn't his year. He's got plenty of talent but he isn't the rookie linebacker that will be given the most looks this off-season.

Cedrick Wilson

Cedrick Wilson is going to come in and play the position that Brice Butler had a season ago, but might have a higher ceiling thanks to his more impressive college career when compared to Butler's. He will be the team's deep threat and his skills compare to Michael Gallup.

While this year Wilson is likely the fourth or fifth wide receiver, and the team's deep threat option, by this time next season, we may see Wilson be named as the other starting wide receiver on the opposite side of Gallup. For this season though, he may not get as many chances early in the season as he will as the year goes along.

Bo Scarbrough

Cowboys Draft RB Bo Scarbrough with the 236th Pick in the 2018 NFL DraftThe team has its lead dog in Ezekiel Elliott, and their speed/receiving threat out of the backfield in Tavon Austin. Scarbrough will have to compete with Rod Smith as the team's short yardage back. Rod Smith gives the team position flexibility, and plays several different roles, which may give Scarbrough a chance.

He is not in any way going to take carries away from Elliott, and won't be the first change-of-pace option the team has, not with Tavon Austin. We may only see him 5-10 offensive plays a game, especially on two yards or less to gain, or maybe even goalline situations.

He was an exciting player at Alabama, but he'll be a role player in Dallas.


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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Sean Martin

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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 1

The Dallas Cowboys best move of the offseason may very well be hiring Kris Richard as their new passing game coordinator. Despite not signing any free agents or drafting added talent for Richard to work with in the secondary, the Cowboys have plenty of reasons to feel great about their current starters - along with an intriguing class of UDFAs.

The prospects of Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Byron Jones, and Xavier Woods working with Richard to sharpen their skills with Seattle's "Legion of Boom" fabricator is as good as it gets. In a very short period of time, the cornerback position has turned into one of the hardest spots for fringe players to make the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Don't tell this to San Diego State's Kameron Kelly. Neither Richard or Kelly may be household names around the NFL, but San Francisco 49ers Cornerback Richard Sherman certainly is. Sherman also happens to be the player the Cowboys are looking for Kelly -- an undrafted free agent that didn't receive a single college offer from "power five" schools -- to emulate.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Cooridinator Kris Richard with Richard Sherman

Given all that Sherman meant to Richard's defenses since being drafted by his Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, these feel like impossible expectations for Kelly to live up to.

The 6015 (6' 1 5/8") defender didn't even play the same position as Sherman until his final collegiate season, slowly making the transition from WR to DB at SDSU by starting as a Sophomore and Junior at safety.

Now just another player in a blue jersey with white numbers at The Star, Kelly is looking to earn the star on a team that may look to remain young, deep, and most importantly versatile in the secondary by keeping one or more UDFAs.

That is, if any of these long shot players deserve a spot on the final 53-man roster. Kelly already has an edge on this field, blessed with the length and daunting frame that allows Richard and the Cowboys to dream of featuring their own Richard Sherman.

"I think he’s trying to turn me into his next Richard Sherman or something". - Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Kameron Kelly

Kris Richard is going to coach everybody he comes across hard. He knows no other way. Kam Kelly is already embracing this, seeing the Cowboys vision for him and not backing down from the challenge.

Turn on the tape for this "diamond in the rough" prospect, and you'll see a player that carries this same competitive toughness onto the field.

Mike Mayock on Twitter

Will a DB compete / tackle ? Top of screen- flat footed read on bubble- trusts eyes and goes ! Just checking boxes- I see you, kameron Kelly of SDSU.... https://t.co/fJM4s16Eq1

Kelly joins Charvarius Ward, Donovan Olumba, and Tyree Robinson as the Cowboys class of UDFAs at both cornerback and safety. An athletic DB out of Oregon, Robinson has made a strong initial impression with several plays on the ball in drills so far.

However, it was Kam Kelly that set up an interception for Jameill Showers in yesterday's practice by getting in the face of rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup.

Projecting anything that resembles a starting lineup for the Cowboys defense in the last week of May is silly. So too is realistically expecting Kelly, Ward, Olumba, or Robinson to ever crack this lineup.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 2

Dallas Cowboys CB Kameron Kelly

The Cowboys could find themselves without enough practice snaps to go around for starting caliber players like Awuzie, Lewis, Jones, Anthony Brown, and even Marquez White. This does not bode well for Kam Kelly, who is only going to continue generating buzz from fans and the Dallas media.

For now, Kelly is getting his chance though. The Cowboys are ever-so-slowly getting back into form for 2018 - doing so with many familiar faces no longer on the roster. This team is going to look different on both sides of the ball come September, and Cowboys Nation can only hope it's for the better given the impressive amount of depth all over the field.

Kam Kelly won't back down from the depth the Cowboys have at CB, expecting to impress his new coach Kris Richard in the mold of three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dallas Cowboys

WR Terrell Owens Featured As A Cowboy On Madden 2019 Cover

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - Getcha Popcorn Ready: Terrell Owens Is Greatest 81 In Dallas Cowboys History

It's been a tumultuous few years for former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, to say the least. Based on his numbers Owens deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but due to his off field "antics" and poor relationships with voters, Owens was kept out of the Hall of Fame until this year.

Now that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this Summer, Terrell Owens has earned another honor: cover athlete for EA Sports' upcoming Madden video game.

Madden has become a staple of football culture over the years, and being placed on the cover of their Hall of Fame edition is pretty special.

What came as a surprise, however, is that Terrell Owens is featured as a Dallas Cowboy on the cover of the game.

Bleacher Report on Twitter

@terrellowens will be on the cover of #Madden19 Hall of Fame edition

Terrell Owens played on a multitude of teams during his NFL career, spending 3 seasons with the Cowboys from 2006-2008. People tend to forget how great the Tony Romo-to-Terrell Owens connection was in Dallas, especially during their 13-3 2007 season.

That year, Owens caught 81 balls for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also earned First Team All Pro honors during the same season.

This is the first time the Cowboys uniform has ever graced the cover of a Madden game, and the second time Terrell Owens will be on the cover of a professional football video game. The first time came as an Eagle on the cover of ESPN NFL 2K5, ironically just one year before Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was the cover athlete for Madden 2006.

Terrell Owens then announced the news himself on Twitter, by tweeting out the following video.

Terrell Owens on Twitter

It's that time! I've made my decision to return to football. Madden 19 HOF #stayready https://t.co/pLL4lTAhD2

Terrell Owens is arguably the greatest (talent wise) receiver to ever play for the Cowboys, though he lacked the longevity to match any of the stat totals of guys like Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant. It's a shame the 2007 season ended the way it did, and that 2008 was such an utter disaster.

Those Cowboys teams were really talented, hence why they won 11 games and another division crown after Owens' departure in 2009.


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