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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

Game Notes

Remembering the Cowboys NFC East Clinching Win Vs. Colts, 4 Years Later

Sean Martin

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Remembering the Cowboys NFC East Clinching Win Vs. Colts, 4 Years Later 1

The 2014 Dallas Cowboys season still feels like a landmark in the rich history of this team. Going deeper into Cowboys annuls is nothing more than a hopeless drift through wasted time that all of us are guilty of, though looking ahead at the 2018 team also leaves just distant memories of 2014.

Perhaps it was the memorable and painful way this season ended, with Dez Bryant's catch in the divisional playoffs at the Packers being played on loop ever since. This clip has surely overshadowed the way Dallas clinched the NFC East in 2014, with a 42-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys find themselves in a similar position Sunday, beginning a stretch of three straight "win and you're in" games. The NFC East will belong to the once 3-5 Cowboys with a win over the Colts, Buccaneers, or Giants.

In that 42-7 drubbing of the Colts four years ago, Tony Romo threw three first half touchdowns to three different targets. At halftime, the Cowboys were on their way with a 28-0 lead, jumping out to a 42-0 advantage before Matt Hasselbeck would throw a garbage time touchdown (yeah, I feel old writing that too).

Just like in this match up, the Cowboys are fresh off a win over the Eagles, as they were in 2014 before rolling to the division title. Four starters from Jason Garrett's first NFC East clincher remain on his roster, though only two will play, speaking to the strides Garrett has made to salvage his reputation this year.

Left Tackle Tyrone Smith and Defensive End Tyrone Crawford will both be in the Cowboys lineup, with Travis Frederick and Zack Martin both ruled out.

The 2014 Cowboys established themselves as the run-first team that's very much still in tact thanks to Ezekiel Elliott. Only Giants rookie Saquon Barkey has more rushing yards over the last five weeks than Elliott. While Barkley continues to impress for a team that will not make the playoffs, Elliott is carrying the Cowboys closer to the postseason with every carry.

Unlike 2014, the path out of the Cowboys backfield to the top of the division hasn't been as straight. The '14 Cowboys featured a veteran lineup on both sides of the ball, focused on weekly improvements yielding a 12-4 record.

The only time the Cowboys have won more games under Garrett was in 2016, where the Cowboys altered the future of the franchise again with a new-look team that went 13-3 before losing in the divisional round to Green Bay again.

Neither 12 or 13 wins is attainable this year for the Cowboys, but the best of both recent divisional championship seasons is. Wins over the Saints and Eagles have brought back the miraculous 2016 feel Quarterback Dak Prescott's rookie season brought to Dallas. For going through both that season together, as well as a nine win campaign in 2017 that serves as Prescott's "down year", the Cowboys staffers that remember 2014 should be nostalgic at kickoff Sunday.

With the NFL being such a week-by-week, day-by-day, and even minute-by-minute experience, taking the chance to add perspective whenever possible is refreshing. The Cowboys arrival as perennial contenders in 2014 can come full circle with a new cast of players and familiar coaching staff here in week 15.

Remember just how much this team has been through to reach this point the next time you call for sweeping changes to America's Team, and if you're feeling lucky, a prop bet on Garrett having blue Gatorade dumped on him before night's end could go a long way.

Remembering the Cowboys NFC East Clinching Win Vs. Colts, 4 Years Later

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Tell us what you think about "Remembering the Cowboys NFC East Clinching Win Vs. Colts, 4 Years Later" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Connor Williams Turns It Around

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Connor Williams Be Option at Tight End for Cowboys? 1

The Dallas Cowboys are on the road again as they travel to Indianapolis to face a hot 7-6 Colts team that's trying to sneak into the AFC Playoffs. It will be a tough challenge for a team that's struggled when playing out of AT&T Stadium but the Cowboys have changed a lot since they were a 3-5 unit. This time, they're one of the hottest teams in the NFL and are one win away from clinching the NFC East.

We surely are in for a great game. Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this week's edition of "Cowboys Wishlist."

Wish #1: Leighton Vander Esch Outplays Darius Leonard

As impressive as Leighton Vander Esch has been for the Dallas Cowboys, he's not alone in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. On today's game, he'll meet his match in Colts LB Darius Leonard. A second rounder himself, Leonard leads the league in tackles with 135. He also is responsible for 11 tackles for loss, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.

Vander Esch, otherwise known as "Wolf Hunter" doesn't have such incredible stats, but playing time is a big reason why. His play has been pretty impressive, though. Ranked as the top rookie linebacker by PFF, hell be out there to prove who's the better player. I really wish he outplays Leonard en rout to the DROY award.

Dak Prescott Clutch in 4th Quarter & OT in Win Over Eagles 3

Wish #2: No Turnovers From Dak

455 yards, three touchdowns and another game-winning drive were more than impressive from Dak Prescott. I really have faith in him as the Cowboys' QB. But we can't ignore the three turnovers he was responsible for in such a close game versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

This game will be different. The Colts are a legit threat in the NFL right now and the Cowboys won't be the home team. Without Martin on the field, Prescott is likely to be pressured. If that's the case, he needs to watch out and avoid fumbles in the pocket.

It's really important the team takes care of the ball if they want the win versus Andrew Luck and company. I specifically wish Dak Prescott has a good game and does something he's done fairly well throughout his career:  take care of the ball.

Wish #3: Connor Williams Turns It Around

Expectations were sky-high for second round pick Connor Williams. A starter in week 1, injury and poor play sidelined him in favor of Xavier Su'a-Filo. With Zack Martin out for the game, Williams has another opportunity to shine. This time he'll be lining up as the team's right guard between C Joe Looney and RT La'el Collins.

It's very important to remember Williams is only a rookie. Just because we're used to offensive line rookies to have immediate success for Dallas doesn't mean every one the team brings in will be as great starting off. A rough start is not the end of the world for Williams. Also worth noting, the majority of his playing time came under now-fired OL coach Paul Alexander. I'm convinced he'll turn things around and will become an important player for the Cowboys soon.

For now, I wish he takes advantage of the opportunity to play and does a great job to be considered again for the LG spot once Martin returns.

Sean's Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (Richard Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Wish #4: Amari Cooper Keeps It Up

The impact Amari Cooper has had on this team is quite frankly unbelievable. He should really be seen as this season's savior for the Cowboys. While the defense is winning games, without Cooper the offense would still be terrible and results wouldn't be the same. He has more than justified the first round pick the Jones traded away to get him.

In a big, road game like this one, I hope he keeps it up and has another huge performance. Whether it is multiple scores or a 100-yard game, I simply want to see him shine again.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Connor Williams Turns It Around" 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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Game Notes

Cowboys, Colts Week 15 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?

The Dallas Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win this week, while the Indianapolis Colts are fighting to stay alive in the AFC wild card race. Only one team can accomplish their goal, and both have some big names on the Week 15 injury report.

We'll begin with the visiting Cowboys, who could be getting at least one star player back while another is already confirmed to miss the game.

Dallas Cowboys

  • TE Geoff Swaim (wrist) - OUT
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - OUT
  • DL David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - Questionable
  • WR Lance Lenoir (illness) - Questionable
  • OT Tyron Smith (neck) - Questionable
  • DE Randy Gregory (personal) - Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable

Yes, sadly, Zack Martin will be out tomorrow. The good news is that Connor Williams got the entire week to practice with the starters at right guard. You can read much more about this situation and it's impact on the game here, courtesy of our own Sean Martin.

Also ruled out, as they have been for a while now, are TE Geoff Swaim and DL David Irving.  Swaim is still recovering from wrist surgery but has not been placed on injured reserve, so the team must feel he could be back for the playoffs. Irving could return as soon as next week.

Speaking of returns, Sean Lee may be back on the field this Sunday. It's unknown yet how he'll rotate with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, but Dallas has the luxury of working him in slowly thanks to the play of their young duo.

Tavon Austin could also return this week, creating another new offensive wrinkle. Austin has been injured since the Jacksonville game and has yet to play since the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper. Not only could Tavon do some interesting things in the offense, but he should bring some additional sizzle to special teams.

While appearing on the injury report, Randy Gregory missed practice this week for "family reasons" according to Jason Garrett. He could still play tomorrow.

Indianapolis Colts

  • G Mark Glowinski (ankle) - OUT
  • LB Skai Moore (neck) - OUT
  • S Mike Mitchell (calf) - OUT
  • WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) - Questionable
  • TE Ryan Hewitt (ribs) - Questionable
  • S Clayton Geathers (knee) - Questionable

The big name here is Hilton, the star receiver who missed all practice this week with an ankle injury. Indianapolis has not ruled him out, wanting to give Andrew Luck's favorite target every opportunity to play. But it's not looking good, and a bad ankle could limit Hilton's effectiveness even if he goes.

Also hurt among the passing options is starting TE Ryan Hewitt, but he did practice full on Friday and should go. Not playing, however, is starting right guard Mark Glowinski. That means third-year player Evan Boehm should start, who just joined the team in October.

Indy's hurting at safety this week. Not only did starter Clayton Geathers miss the whole week of practice, but veteran backup Mike Mitchell is already ruled out. The Colts would have to rely on undrafted rookie George Odum if neither plays.

Fun fact before we go; former Cowboy Jihad Ward was picked up by the Colts after Dallas included him in their roster cuts to start the season. However, he landed on injured reserve back in October so won't get a chance at revenge.



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