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Cowboys Safeties: No Challengers Yet for Jeff Heath’s Starting Job

Upgrading the position was one of the most-discussed needs for the in 2019. But with just a few weeks to go until the real games begin, nobody has emerged to push out of his starting role.

Heath is set to enter his seventh season with the Cowboys and third as a starting safety. While he's been the team's best at getting those elusive interceptions, his general defensive play in coverage and run support has been less than ideal.

Dallas has been able to win with Heath as a starter, but consensus was that the Cowboys needed to upgrade if they wanted to make a championship push in 2019. With looking poised for a breakout season, a stronger player beside him could have made for a league-leading duo.

But despite opportunities to add and many other superior safeties in , the Cowboys didn't spend big. They added veteran , a 29 year old with plenty of starting experience but not a standout talent.

Dallas also didn't utilize the 2019 to improve their talent pool. They waited until the 6th Round to add , who may take a job away from but isn't going to push for a starting role in his rookie year.

, a 3rd-round pick in 2016 by the Giants, has been showing up in the spring practices and . He may wind up as the team's primary backup, perhaps knocking Iloka off the roster completely, but there's no indication that the Cowboys see him as a starter.

Indeed, nobody has stepped up to challenge Jeff Heath.

Can Anyone Unseat Jeff Heath as the Cowboys Starting Safety?
Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath

As Ric Flair famously said, “To be the man, you gotta' beat the man.”

Sadly, there are no Stings or Dusty Rhodes among the other safety options. Jeff Heath is still running full-time with the starting and it doesn't appear any other current players are even being considered.

But before you write Heath's name in permanent marker, there is one other option still on the table.

A few weeks ago, Cowboys' executive (and unofficial ) Will McClay stated in a radio interview that they were still monitoring the status of veteran . While he turns 31 in December, Berry has only played in three regular season games the last two years dealing with different .

Even if Dallas were to bring in Berry now he may need some time to get football ready and acclimated to the system. Jeff Heath would likely still be your starter for the first few weeks, especially given his familiarity with opponents like the Giants and Redskins.

Barring that big move, the best hope for 2019 improvement is in the young surrounding Heath. With Xavier Woods, , and all poised for third-year growth and development, perhaps the overall talent in the will help mask Heath's weaknesses.

Plus, it's worth noting that this is just Jeff's second year with new DB Coach . Maybe he has some room to grow as well, with a proven guru showing him things that past coaches did not.

But that is where we are now in this process, hoping for Heath to improve rather than for a fresh face to replace him. The Cowboys are at safety, and only time will tell if they made the right bet.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Not overreacting to it, but Donovan Wilson is running with the ones in practice today. Moving up the chain maybe?

Victor Godinez

I wouldn’t mind a rotation between Heath and Donovan Wilson, to get the rookie ready to take over. I like his physicality as a SS and tackling ability. If Richard can coach up proper tackling angles we may have found a gem with Wilson.


The only “consensus” that matters to the Cowboys is among their coaches and personnel managers. Writers and fans don’t count!

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