More

    Cowboys Defensive Back Questions Still Need Answers

    The took a step forward in 2017, and in the process they answered several questions. They found a “war daddy” in , something that’s been missing since left for the . Lawrence finished tied for second with Calais Campbell in with 14.5, and made the NFL All-Pro Second Team.

    We got to see answer questions about his health all season long. Smith appears to be trending in the right direction, both in his health and his performance on the field.

    The plan to rebuild the seems to be on the right track as they’ve found a couple of aggressive corners in and . They have the look of a dynamic duo that will be impact players on this team for a long, long time.

    Kavon Frazier has been a revelation. The thumper at the position is something that's been missing for the Dallas Cowboys since .

    - Advertisement -

    However, questions still remain about a defense that carried this team at times, and looked like the Rob Ryan and defenses of yesteryear at other times.

    To me the biggest questions in the secondary revolve around and .

    Cowboys en Español: Proyectando el Roster de 53 Jugadores 2
    Dallas Cowboys S Byron Jones (James D. Smith via AP)

    Where do Byron Jones and Xavier Woods Fit?

    - Advertisement -

    Byron Jones has been a popular whipping boy for . Some of that has been accurate, but he's not as bad as would have you believe.

    He’s been sticky in coverage, especially against tight ends, throughout his career, but in 2017 it seemed like he was shying away from tackling a bit too much. He still has that tremendous athleticism and coverage ability that warranted a first-round pick, but the question remains: What is his best position?

    After playing where needed his rookie season, the Cowboys coaching staff moved him to safety for the last couple of years with mixed results.

    As stated, he’s been pretty good in coverage and made some incredible plays on the ball, even if he’s lacking the interception numbers. The problem comes, in my opinion, when he’s asked to make tackles in space, which is an important aspect of being a safety.

    Many have begun to wonder if Dallas would be best served moving Jones back to corner.

    As a , Jones would be able to use his athleticism and coverage skills against the bigger wide receivers in the league, but not be asked to make as many tackles in the middle of the field against running backs and tight ends.

    - Advertisement -

    They can still bring him in against some of the better tight ends in the league. We already know the Cowboys will face of the , of the , and Evan Engram of the New York Giants for a total of six games in 2018.

    Dallas will also face the likes of , , , Mike Evans, Alshon Jeffrey and Marvin Jones, who are bigger more athletic wide receivers who could require a man of Byron's skill.

    It will be interesting to see what they do with Byron this .

    Where Will Dallas Cowboys Search For "Fresh Ideas" Begin? 3
    Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB/S Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

    The same question applies to Xavier Woods, but not because he struggled. He was actually quite good as the slot corner throughout much of his rookie season.

    Woods primarily played safety in his time at Louisiana Tech, and showed an ability to be the deep middle safety. Because of injuries to the cornerback group, Woods lined up as the slot corner for a lot of his snaps.

    He played well there for Dallas, leaving many to wonder if he hasn’t earned the role of third cornerback. That may be a good fit, but it’s not typical to see a guy who was primarily a safety in college become a corner in the NFL.

    I'd rather see him as a full-time safety.

    With Woods at safety, Dallas can stay in their base defense when teams go to three formations, especially on early downs or in situations where a run is just as likely. He can drop down from the safety spot to play in the slot, if — and it's a big if — you trust your single-high safety.

    Woods' ability to cover in the slot allows you to stay competitive against the run, which was a struggle for Dallas.

    ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

    We’ve seen how the yo-yo game between positions can affect a player's technique and mentality. wasn’t the same player in 2017 when asked to prepare as both a guard and a , as opposed to 2016 when he strictly played tackle.

    In my opinion, it would be to the Dallas Cowboys interest to move Byron Jones back to cornerback full-time, and move Woods to safety.

    When you decide to go to your nickel package, Chidobe Awuzie and Jones play the outside with Jourdan Lewis moving to the middle. Or you bring Jones in to cover the , leave Lewis and Awuzie on the outside, and drop Woods into the slot and play cover 1.

    What do you think?

    Where do Byron Jones and Xavier Woods fit best on this team?

    spot_imgspot_imgspot_img
    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

    Latest

    Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy on Upcoming Bout Against Rams: “We’re Nobody’s Underdog”

    The Dallas Cowboys have been overcoming the odds since...

    Diggs Island – Trevon Diggs Is Entering Elite Status

    It’s hard to find a cornerback that is under...

    Week 5 Preview: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

    The Cowboys head back on the road this weekend...

    Newsletter

    Daily Cowboys News in Your Inbox
    Name:*
    Your email address:*
    Please enter all required fields Click to hide
    Correct invalid entries Click to hide

    Don't miss

    Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy on Upcoming Bout Against Rams: “We’re Nobody’s Underdog”

    The Dallas Cowboys have been overcoming the odds since...

    Diggs Island – Trevon Diggs Is Entering Elite Status

    It’s hard to find a cornerback that is under...

    Week 5 Preview: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

    The Cowboys head back on the road this weekend...

    Jerry Jones Speaks About Dak Prescott’s Injury

    Owner Jerry Jones was a guest on 105.3 "The...

    Diggs Island – Trevon Diggs Is Entering Elite Status

    It’s hard to find a cornerback that is under more scrutiny than Trevon Diggs. Even after his historic 11 interception season just one year ago,...

    Jayron Kearse to Be Full Participant in Wednesday’s Practice, Hints at Joining Hooker and Wilson on the Field

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case a picture was worth that plus over 4,000 likes. Plus, a...

    Reasons Why the Cowboys Have the Best Defense

    Out of all the 32 NFL teams, it's always an honor to be crowned the best defense. Now even though the season just started...

    23 COMMENTS

    23 Comments
    Oldest
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Albert Smith

    I agree with this because I’ve been saying for the past couple of years that BJ should be moved back to corner and a specialist in situations that call for it.

    John Williams

    While I’m a huge fan of the coaching staff, I think they get a little to creative with their players and love the idea of position flexibility a bit too much.

    EverybodyTalks

    I agree. You look at Byron and he has the speed (22.1 mph clocked), 6’1″ and a little over 200lbs. He played CB in college. He’s got jumps – this is way to easy. Make him a cornerback and draft a Safety..smh!

    John Williams

    Yeah man. He has some good matchup ability in man coverage. Hopefully the DC’s will see the need and make it happen.

    MLV

    The best secondary would be Awuzie,Lewis CB, Jones FS, Frazier SS, Woods nickel!

    John Williams

    I don’t mind it, because I like Jones’ ability to cover deep, but his best ability has been in man against big athletic pass catchers. I’d rather see them put him where he can excel more frequently.

    EverybodyTalks

    Agreed. Plus, as a 1st rounder, we can extend him for a 5th year. We did it for Mo and Byron has more upside.

    John Williams

    No doubt. If he shows out at CB this year, I wouldn’t hesitate. He has some ability at S, but could be much better given his size on the outside. They’re going to have their hands full with the NFC South WRs next year.

    John Williams

    I think this will be an important season for Byron. I think he’s yet to fully hit his stride.

    Travis Diggs

    Where these two fit really depends on what they do with Orlando Scandrick and Marquez White in the off season. I believe White should of made the roster early on over Carroll, he’s a big physical corner who played well in preseason. Scandrick being injured showed us what the future looks like without him, he might get cut or they keep him, who knows. The better two safeties out of the four on the roster is Byron Jones and Xavier Woods so it really depends on roster moves they make this spring

    John Williams

    I think Scandrick is gone. Age and injury have him out the door. White, will have an opportunity to earn a roster spot this offseason. Hard to go into a season like 2017 with approximately 40% of your DB depth chart made up of rookies.

    Nick Green

    Ive been arguing this all season.
    Heath is more of deep middle (free) than box safety (strong) & Frazier was really good in box late in season… Rotate Woods in both spots with those 2. He looked ok as a slot CB, but I remember Crowder from Redskins & Shepherd from Giants running free thru the secondary when Woods was slot CB. We probably lose that Wash game if Crowder wasn’t fumbling all game.
    BJ is a CB, he moves like one & is best in man converage because he looks lost in zone at times (Jared Cook ring a bell)… Put him & Chido outside with their size & athleticism & put Lewis in the slot. Let AB be primary backup in slot & See if White has improved enough to be 5th CB

    John Williams

    Shepard and Crowder are two of the better slots in the league. This is why I want to see Woods moved to safety and Jones to Corner. Puts them at their best spots when the team goes to nickel.

    Letstalk Aboutit

    While Jones hasn’t been bad he definitely need to get better. All of this talk about moving Jones to corner but 1 thing seems to be missing, the name of Scandrick. If we have Jones, Awuzie and Lewis all playing a starting or highly important role, where does that leave Orlando Scandrick. I know I have heard the rumors, however he isn’t gone yet and we Cowboys fans and the majority of the media don’t even mention him. For a player who has given his heart and soul for this team and made some huge plays for us I just felt like he deserved to be mentioned.

    John Williams

    Scandrick is likely gone, mo. His age and injuries make him unreliable at this point. Even when on the field, he was struggling a bit. Scandrick has been great for this team, but it’s time to move on.

    Letstalk Aboutit

    In no way do I disagree with you, I just want to give recognition to a man who has done a great job for the Cowboys organization. People act like they can’t even acknowledge him and what he has meant to us as Cowboys fans. I for 1 just wanted to mention him as a way of saying thank you. Orlando Scandrick deserves that.

    John Williams

    Absolutely. Scan has been a warrior and has far exceeded the fifth round draft choice he was. He’s a Cowboy through and through in the same way that DeMarcus Ware is. His ability to lock down the slot and then push into the starting lineup was awesome. Made moving on from Carr and Claiborne that much easier.

    Jason Wagner

    I think you did a great job breaking this down and I agree with your conclusions, however this would require drafting another Safety in the top 2-3 picks….which we need to do regardless.

    EverybodyTalks

    True. Derwin James and Ronnie Harrison in.the 1st. Marcus Allen and Jordan Whitehead in the 2nd. DeShon Elliot and Armani Watts in the 3rd. Just some of the ones that we would welcome into the backfield.

    John Williams

    Since we need to draft a safety, there are going to be options in the first three rounds to make it happen. Even if we don’t draft a safety, I’d be cool rolling with Woods, Heath, Frazier and a veteran option and putting Jones at CB. Put players in the best position to succeed.

    Terry Jones

    Exactly why I been saying we don’t need to draft a corner. Jones and awuzie outside Lewis in the slot. Woods in the nickle with Frazier back there thumping

    John Williams

    Bring it on. I continue to get a sense that a veteran splash could occur if Earl Thomas somehow becomes available.

    Wayne A Caddell Jr

    John Williams,
    In today’s NFL, you have to have 3 good CBs. Which is why I like the Dallas Cowboys offensive scheme. It’s still old school smash mouth.
    And I am not one of those who believe Jason Garrett is the problem. If people would examine both Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson, Landry didn’t even have a .500 winning percentage in 5 years of being HC, and Jimmy Johnson had an Ace in the hole (Herschel Walker) and a gullible team (Minnesota), and how he played it so Dallas could aquire draft picks. Because Minnesota didn’t believe Dallas would cut the players they received in the trade or they would not have made the trade. So JJ played poker, not revealing his true intentions. Jimmy Johnson got extremely lucky. Even after the trade, it took him 3 more years just to make a wildcard game (Detroit, which they lost, Detroit played Washington but lost, Washington goes to the Super Bowl and beats the Buffalo Bills).
    If people really want to know what’s happening here, it’s just like shortly after Jimmy Johnson traded Walker. Dallas went 1-15 in 89, 7-9 in 90, 11-5 in 91. And Jimmy Johnson didn’t have a salary cap in his way either. He could sign and fire every day he wanted without salary cap penalties. When Garrett took over, the offensive line was old, slow and injured prone. He can only do so much in a single draft but he’s done an excellent job because Jerry Jones has been held at bay. After getting Dallas competitive again, DeMarco Murray stabs Dallas in the back after Dallas stuck by him in spite of being injured and not able to play much during his first few years after being drafted. He signs with Philadelphia, Dallas could not match it because of the salary cap that Jerry Jones has screwed up for over a decade. I’ll give you that it’s not been very pretty, but Jason Garrett is not the problem in Dallas. Dallas has to build through the draft because they’re still in Salary Cap Hell. They couldn’t sign a good free agent if they wanted to because they don’t have the cap space to do so. What Garrett and the staff has done a very good job considering what they have to work with. Dallas had to take a step back because alot of experience wasn’t resigned. Again because they couldn’t afford to. And until more salary gets written off the books, hopefully in the next 3 years, then Dallas can be spenders again. Jerry Jones should be out of the picture at this time to be able to screw up anything else. But these rookies showed good fight, potential and you could just tell they hate to lose. I see Doomsday on the rise very soon.