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Cowboys Minicamp: Time to Worry About Jourdan Lewis’ Playing Time?

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Minicamp: Time to Worry About Jourdan Lewis Playing Time?

The Dallas Cowboys secondary is entering the 2018 season with high expectations, although we are still a long way from knowing exactly how this unit will be deployed. Now coached by former Seahawks DC Kris Richard, second-year players like Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie can build on solid rookie campaigns to become top starters.

For Lewis, so far this offseason, the first step of this process must be getting on the field. Playing in 15 games as the Cowboys third round pick in 2017, Lewis outplayed his draft status and became the steal Dallas always knew he could be.

Primarily lining up as an inside player at Michigan, Lewis was impressive in his transition to the next level while also learning how to play on the outside. The 5102 (5' 1 2/8") cornerback brought the same athletic cover skills and instincts to this "new" position.

These are certainly traits that Kris Richard will love to see, but so too is the trademark height and length of his former "Legion of Boom" defenses. Such has been the case for the Cowboys through OTAs and into this week's mini camp, where third-year Cornerback Anthony Brown has continued to impress out of the slot.

Understandably, Lewis will have a hard time keeping his job as a boundary corner over Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones. Drafted a round before Lewis in 2017, Awuzie recovered from injury in his rookie season to appear in 10 games. In Awuzie and Jones, the Cowboys have their ideal mold for two physical cornerbacks on the outside.

It is Jones' move from safety down to corner that was Richard's most immediate impact on his new secondary. His next act may very well have to be finding a spot for Jourdan Lewis.

Playing almost unnaturally poised as a sixth round rookie in 2016, the Cowboys working Anthony Brown back to form is far from a bad thing. Brown is the perfect depth piece for any secondary to have, capable of lining up anywhere and adding speed to a defense.

Ben McAdoo: "Let Me Know" Who's Playing CB For Dallas Cowboys 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Anthony Brown (James D. Smith via AP)

Already proving that he can do much of the same, the Cowboys will be making a mistake if Brown's continued progress stunts the growth of Lewis. Whether or not both players can coexist on the field at the same time will be another hurdle for both Richard and Rod Marinelli to handle, as Richard's Passing Game Coordinator responsibilities spill into the coverage assignments of the linebackers.

Favoring Nickel defenses that keep two linebackers on the field, Marinelli has been reluctant to play two cornerbacks like Lewis and Brown at the same time. Right now, these are two players competing for one spot.

Going from a potential fringe player on the roster to one regaining his confidence, Anthony Brown should be looked at as a great developing story for Dallas this season. As the true battle for roster spots begins in Oxnard for training camp though, Brown will have to put aside any previous praise if he's truly looking to hold off Jourdan Lewis from contributing for the Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Minicamp: Time to Worry About Jourdan Lewis’ Playing Time?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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7 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    Theirs nothing wrong with playing the right guys for the right situation . In game player personnel has been a concern for a while with this team .Kris Richard(aka our new head coach) didnt need all year to realize that Jourdan Lewis isnt and shouldn’t be a outside corner, in the same boat as Anthony Brown pretty much .Lewis will get his playing time but most of it will and should be in the slot where he belongs

  • Randy Martin

    Much has been written about Richard’s preference for long and physical corners, as well as safeties. But I’m pretty sure that if I dredge up articles from the past before Richard arrived, there was already a bias to those types in the defensive backfield. So, Richard has inherited an ideal situation with players that mirror his affinity. That being said, Richard has also stated that “Lewis is the exception to the rule.” Now did he say that because he intends for him to get that spot, or to make him feel secure, or for any other reason. For me, I don’t care who starts…I just want to see the best 4 starters, and the best personnel in all situational lineups. I like all the guys but I trust Richard to do his thing.

  • oneputter

    i can’t believe we are thinking of jones over lewis now. jones might have the size and all but he cannot cover, nor can he tackle, jones has not lived up to his #1 pick and its time to move on from him.

    i would trade him, send him to seattle and a pick for ET.

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      Jones is the fastest man on the defense
      Clocked by the NFL radar tracking device in live game play
      Remember the play when either Beast Mode or the Atlanta player beat Dallas’ secondary, (Lewis, Awuzie, Brown , Jones, Heath, & Scandrick)
      Jones 360’d & ran him down 40yrds down field saving a touchdown?
      I think Dallas held them to a fieldgoal
      He did decent his rookie year as corner but the position flex curse bit him like it has Jones, Crawford, & other Cowboys
      Now cover skills maybe redefined by Richard,
      Again, we want the best & maybe prior coaches had alot more wrong than have yet to be revealed
      I’m more glad to have much great talent than not quite enough

      • oneputter

        oh without a doubt he is a great athlete, but, is he a great football player? i often question that.

        i remember that play well, i also remember a lot of plays where he was out of position, where he was beat on the first move, where is was trailing a TE, and where he was soft coming up to make a tackle, then arm tackling.

        i hope he can figure it out, imo, lewis is a much better corner than jones will ever be, just because jones was a 1 pick the coaching staff feels that he has to play/be on the field. i like some of the younger FA over him…..

        again i think we need to move on

        • Sexcdex Xfact

          Team synopsis in my personal catch-phrase, in my opinion is this

          (And it applys to J Lewis, A. Brown etc)

          Due to several key assistant coach changes in one off season
          One can of legitimately assume player under-development

          This doesn’t negate Lewis being beat & out of position on plays
          However,
          How much if these mistakes can be attributed to poor coaching /pooe coaching schemes

          It’s like, Heath, Woods, Awuzie , Jones etc all got beat & were lit if position many times
          It was deemed grow g pains & rightfully so

          But one missed assignment can make the closest man look responsible
          &
          Defenses should scheme to back up rookies for the most part
          Yet, 3+ yr vets played beneath Lewis & Awuzie according to ESPN, PFF , & other prestigious NFL analysists assessments

          They play lights out despite getting beat & such vs the rest of NFL corners
          You can’t throw the baby out wit the dirty water

          Players improve most between 1st & 2nd seasons
          Now they’ve upgraded all met positions fat lacked
          Let’s give a loner sassing before pulling the plug on major production

          Nobody expected Dallas’s secondary to perform remotely close to what they did
          Only time will truly tell as always

  • Sexcdex Xfact

    The very writer of this article said one of, if not the most important fact, under development of the player/team

    Neither Brown nor Lewis growth needs be stunted
    Just as I feel teams greatly hinder players by not mixing 1st & 2nd stringers together in practice

    By doing such, (or not doing such), you disadvantage say perhaps Cooper Rush being thrust into a game with no to little chemistry with the 1st team guys

    Fumbled snaps, dropped passes, misreading coverages, on & on
    GET IT?!

    Certain game personnel will warrant Lewis over Brown or vice/versa
    Or
    Frazier over Heath, etc

    But to deny mixed-practice sufficiently obviously denies crucial familiarality with key positions in live game occurrences

    I just can’t believe how this isn’t a commonly known fact & practice
    For instance
    A rookie or first time starter/participant gets his golden opportunity only not to have a needed chemistry with a person(s) vital to the success of that one play ,,,,
    ,,,,,The play fails for the lack of at least 1 of the 11 in the field not being in sync/quite in sync

    That player looks awful & blamed, ( & maybe rightfully so) as far as assignment but guilty via not having ever practiced with the starters, (coaching) in all actuality

    So Lewis & all players need an emergency practice on a regular basis with the staeters to warrant off worse case scenarios

    Dallas need to be the first to implement this & not wait for hindsight and/or another team or coach prove the validity of this approach
    But
    I feel as I’ve commented before on the Jordan Lewis delimma that Richard could also be seeing if Anthony Brown has what it takes at the same time he’s testing Lewis’s patience/attitude
    Maybe it’s trade potential for either or both or another CB altogether
    It’s just far too early to tell & I honestly want the absolute best 22 in the field for our success

    I just personally feel Jordan Lewis played better than Anthony Brown & I’m waiting to see comparison of both their first year stats & rankings
    But make no mistake about it, time will truly tell
    &
    Quite soon I might add

Dallas Cowboys

Todd Gurley Leaps Ezekiel Elliott on NFL Rushing Leaderboard

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley

After several weeks as the NFL's rushing leader, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been bumped to second place. With a 208-yard explosion last week against the Broncos, Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams has leaped Zeke on the leaderboard.

Elliott was no slouch himself in Week 6, putting up 106 yards on the vaunted Jaguars defense. But Gurley nearly doubled that in Denver, and now leads Zeke by 37 yards.

Here are the current NFL rushing leaders, :

  1. Todd Gurley, Rams - 623 yards
  2. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys - 586 yards
  3. Melvin Gordon, Chargers - 466 yards
  4. Kareem Hunt, Chiefs - 456 yards
  5. James Conner, Steelers - 453 yards
  6. Saquon Barkley, Giants - yards
  7. Matt Breida, 49ers - 430 yards
  8. Isaiah Crowell, Jets - 430 yards
  9. Sony Michel, Patriots - 400 yards

It's still early in 2018, but it's already starting to look like a two-horse race for the rushing title. And it's no surprise that those two would be Elliott and Gurley.

Last year, Zeke and Todd were the top two in the NFL for yards-per-game. Gurley missed one game that year and finished second in total yards behind Kareem Hunt. Elliott was held back by his suspension.

Week 7 could allow Elliott to retake the lead. He'll see a Washington defense that he ran for 150 yards on last season in a single game. However, they are currently sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

Gurley gets a slightly softer opponent in the 49ers defense, who are just 13th in run defense. Both games will be on the road.

While these stats certainly aren't as important as wins and losses, they do matter to the players. Rushing titles come back into the conversation when Hall of Fame credentials are being considered.

If things stay at their current pace for Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley, we may be tracking this race all the way through the end of the regular season.



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Player News

Michael Gallup Showing Signs of a Breakout

John Williams

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Cowboys Roster: Dallas Made Right Decisions on Unproven Skill Players

We're only six games into the career of Rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup who was selected 81st overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. It's been a slow start to his career, mostly because of usage. On Sunday, he took a step toward what many thought he could be for the Cowboys when he was drafted; Wide receiver one.

The numbers, one reception on two targets for 27 yards, may not indicate a breakout is coming, but if you look at the two targets he saw and the quality of the corner he faced, they're more impressive.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Look at this catch by #Cowboys rookie WR Michael Gallup https://t.co/lD1xJ2WemD

On the Dallas Cowboys first drive of the day, Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott looked Michael Gallup's way down the left sideline and hit him on a nice back shoulder fade that looked an awful lot like a Dez Bryant-like contested catch. It was a key play on 3rd-and-9 to get the Dallas Cowboys into Jacksonville territory on a drive that led to a Brett Maher field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Later in the game with the Cowboys driving to score a touchdown, Gallup made a tremendous catch when he got perfect depth behind All-Pro Corner Back A.J. Bouye and in front of the safety help. It looked to be an impressive touchdown catch just inside the end zone, but was overturned on replay. On review, Gallup wasn't able to get his second foot down after he made contact with the defender. Though the touchdown didn't stand, it was an impressive effort for Michael Gallup.

Jordan Schultz on Twitter

Michael Gallup with a near circus catch to ALMOST haul in his first NFL TD. Ruled incomplete. #cowboys #jags @CSUFootball https://t.co/SePSc3n1Yp

Michael Gallup led the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver group in snaps (81% of the offensive snaps) on Sunday, and according to Mike Clay from ESPN, he led the Dallas Cowboys in routes run as well. Both of Gallup's targets came against Bouye, showing an ability to beat one of the best corners in the NFL.

Mike Clay on Twitter

Michael Gallup paced the Cowboys in pass routes (25) for the first time in his career on Sunday.

As Michael Gallup sees more opportunities to play, his opportunities to make plays are going to continue to grow. With news coming down that Tavon Austin is unlikely to play for several weeks because of a groin injury, more snaps are opening up at the wide receiver position. Tavon played 18 snaps before getting injured on Sunday, so there will be increased opportunities for Gallup moving forward.

Gallup's only seen about 3 targets a game, but with the increased snaps he saw in week six and the potential for even more with Austin coming, the opportunities should grow. As he continues to come down with impressive catches like he did on Sunday (even if only one of them counted), it's going to increase Dak Prescott's and the coaching staff's level of trust in the rookie.

It's safe to say that more big time catches are coming for Michael Gallup and a breakout is coming sooner than later.



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Cole Beasley is Your Interim WR1

Mauricio Rodriguez

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As Preseason Begins, Does Prescott Have a "Go-To" Receiver After All?

Watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7 was undoubtedly fun for Cowboys Nation. There were not many positive expectations for the Cowboys heading into this game but both the defense and offense put on impressive performances at home in an attempt to remain serious contenders within the NFC East.

We learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday as they beat one of the top defenses in the NFL. Let's talk about in this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

Cole Beasley Is Your Interim WR1

The Cowboys have yet to find their #1 wide receiver, but Cole Beasley is making a serious statement looking like the most reliable target in Dallas. Being 5'8 and a slot receiver doesn't really help Beasley's case to be the #1 guy, but he's making plays.

Last Sunday, he was the only wide receiver on the team with more than one catch. The other player with more than one reception was Geoff Swaim, who only got his hands on the ball twice. Beasley finished the day with nine receptions for 101 yards and two touchdown catches. The Cowboys need other WRs to step up but in the meantime, let Beasley put the sauce on opposing defenses. Hopefully he continues to hurt defenses like he did versus the Jaguars' feared secondary.

The team still needs a guy who can be a consistent threat on the outside, though. Third-round rookie Michael Gallup could develop into that, but he isn't there yet. We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, it's all Beasley.

Bright Future for the Defensive Line

Blake Bortles was sacked three times by the so-called "Hot Boyz" last weekend. To be quite honest, the future for this defensive line looks brightest than it ever has. The return of Maliek Collins and David Irving to the field were desperately needed for this defense to take the next step. Collins and Irving were somewhat limited, but their snap counts will surely increase as the season continues.

John Owning on Twitter

A lot of little details went into this sack from Maliek Collins. From his alignment pre-snap to his timing on the spin, it was a beautiful display of rushing the passer by @SavageSevv. https://t.co/CYcfLH6AfB

Randy Gregory also got limited snaps versus the Jaguars, but he was able to make an impact either way. He finished the day with one sack, two hits and one QB hurry. I can't wait until these guys' snaps increase. This should be a very scary unit for opposing quarterbacks.

Dak Prescott's Stats Don't Reflect His Performance

The Jaguars are the best defense this team has faced and yet it's been the offense's best performance. Dak Prescott's passing stats may not look great, but his play was. Even though he failed to cross the 200 yard mark on the air, he rushed for 82 yards and kept Jacksonville's defense honest. Dak has faced a lot of criticism this year and will likely continue to do so.

Even still, we've seen him ball out on various occasions now. Dak can play. He may not be an elite passer, in fact he's far from being that, but he can make this offense work if they play to his strengths.

We've heard players talk about "turning the corner" in Dallas. Cowboys Nation should hope that is the case. What's more frustrating than watching an offense being unable to move the chains and score touchdowns, is knowing they could do it with a better execution and play-calling. Thanks to players like Dak, Ezekiel Elliott and Cole Beasley, there's a silver lining for the Cowboys' offense.

Report: Jason Garrett "Not Going Anywhere" with Possible Extension Coming Soon

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Inconsistency is the Problem for Cowboys

Simply put, this is not the team we had witnessed in the first five weeks of the season. Even in the two prior wins this year, the Dallas Cowboys had not looked dominant at all. Specifically the offense. They hadn't faced a defense as tough as the Jaguars', but they were able to drop 40 on them. Now granted, they did it with the help of the defense, but still. We hadn't seen this version of the Cowboys.

Even with a 40-7 win over the Jaguars, it is tough to imagine Dallas will keep this up as the season continues. Hopefully, they do and I'm wrong about this. They need to be more consistent if they want to end up surprising the NFC East and walk away with the division title.

Although they got the big win, they still left points on the field and fail to execute for touchdowns in the second half. Even when the defense forced turnovers. In close games, this cost you wins in the NFL. The Cowboys can't afford to lose many more games, even in a weak division.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Cole Beasley is Your Interim WR1" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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