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Film Room: What’s Going On With CB Anthony Brown?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys en Español: Caras Nuevas, ¿Tenemos Cornerbacks?, Adiós Ware
Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Heading into the 2017 NFL Season, the national narrative was that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was headed for a sophomore slump. People wanted to believe that Prescott could not repeat his stellar rookie season, and that the late-round pick would struggle in year two.

Through the first half of the year it's pretty clear that Prescott is not having that slump of a season, but his fellow sophomore Anthony Brown is.

Cornerback Anthony Brown struggled at times in 2016, but for a sixth round pick he looked to be on his way. Making some key plays down the stretch a year ago, Brown made most fans comfortable with the fact the Cowboys allowed multiple veteran corners to walk during the offseason.

But this year Brown has simply not looked himself, and last week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons provided more examples of this.

Anthony Brown is being asked to play as a starting outside corner, something he did a little bit of his rookie season due to injuries. Given his stature and athletic profile, most pinned him to be a slot corner in the NFL. And, so far, the slot is where he has had his most success.

dalvsatl anthony brown 2 - Streamable

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Here we see Brown on the bottom of the screen, lined up in the slot against Mohamed Sanu. Brown is in man coverage, and with the Cowboys in a single-high look, he only has the one safety to rely on over the top.

Brown allows Sanu the first few steps, maintaining outside leverage. Brown is clearly more worried about out-breaking routes than in-breaking ones, something we see a lot with him. Once Sanu reaches the top of his route, Brown gets physical with him and makes his cut to the outside tougher.

Brown then stays sticky to Sanu's back hip, and stays in a good position to jump in front and deflect the pass away once the ball is thrown. This play is just one of many examples during Brown's young career of why he is at his best when playing in the slot.

dalvsatl anthony brown 3 - Streamable

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An area I have seen Anthony Brown struggle in consistently is with following receivers across the field. Here playing as the boundary corner on the bottom of the screen, Brown ends up in man coverage against Julio Jones.

Brown actually did a nice job when matched up with Jones early in the game, but as the game wore on Brown began to have more and more issues in coverage.

Jones get a clean release off the line of scrimmage here, and then simply out runs Brown across the field. Jones get a little bit of a helping hand from the other crossing route, but Brown just doesn't have the speed to keep up here.

dalvsatl anthony brown 4 - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Here is another example of Brown getting beat to the inside. Anthony Brown is matched up in man coverage with Jordy Nelson on this snap on the bottom of the screen. Nelson uses a quick jab step to the outside to freeze Brown and create separation. Brown missteps and quickly loses Nelson in coverage. He is not able to recover and Nelson makes the first down grab.

If asked to play on the outside, I think Anthony Brown is best in zone coverage. He sometimes lacks the required skills in man to cover the wide outs he's being asked to cover, and also tends to get handsy at the top of routes. While his physicality is something I love about his game, it also puts him at risk for penalties more often.

I don't think all is lost for Anthony Brown. He seems to have lost some confidence in both his technique and coverage, at times getting caught peaking into the backfield or getting lost in the back-end. If he can string together a few good games and keep his confidence up, these issues could be fixed.

For the time being, however, I do think rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis deserves more snaps on the outside. Lewis has simply been better than Brown this year, and if we are giving out playing time based on merits, then Jourdan Lewis deserves to play. Still, as I said, Brown is better than he has been playing this season.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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6 Comments
  • oneputter

    he had a decent rookie year, he got a lot of praise, and came into his second year with a new helmet (much larger helmet) because of him thinking he had arrived.

    typical problem with all cowboys players, they get too full of themselves, now that “chip” on their shoulder is suddenly crumbs.

    reality check 30, you ain’t done nothing yet!

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      I still think he can be a fine player, just maybe not as great as some had hoped during the offseason. Still a lot of football left. Thanks for reading!

  • Travis Diggs

    This is what happens when all the corners on your roster are all no 2’s and 3’s. They will get exposed

    • Tommy Davis

      Jordan Lewis is a cover corner, he should play Brown’s outside position and Brown should be moved back to the slot where he performed well last year.

  • Aaron Jones

    The play against Atlanta you’re asking him to trail the most athletic specimen in the NFL all the way across the field because our pass rush doesn’t get home. Can’t kill him for that. The play against Green Bay he’s playing outside leverage with linebacker help over the middle. Both linebackers bite on the play action, take notice of no Sean Lee, and Rodgers throws it right over the top of them. Not sure these were the two best examples.

  • Ernest D. Hollins

    Every since he appeared on NFL NETWORK, after Giants game, he has been crap. A Case of the Big Head! I hope he REFOCUS! NOW is the time.

Star Blog

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

The NFC East is a wild, wild division. Since 2004, the division that hosts some of the most popular franchises in the NFL hasn't seen the same team winning the NFC East title two years in a row. It's crazy! Who expected the Dallas Cowboys to become the #1 seed in the conference in 2016 after seeing Tony Romo go down during the preseason? Who was able to predict the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing run for the Super Bowl last year?

It's an unpredictable league, but the NFC East side of things can really amaze you on a yearly basis.

Heading into 2018, it all seems to be about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Being the last two teams to win the title, it's only logical to expect them to be the only teams in the division that have what it takes to own the NFC East crown.

But maybe, just maybe, we are overlooking the New York Giants.

Coming from a 3-13 record in 2017, the Giants have quite a bit to prove if they want to become a winning team once again and return to playoff contention. With Odell Beckham missing most of the season and with good ol' Ben McAdoo calling the shots, the team was never able to get a break.

Listen, we all know Eli Manning has been struggling lately. Many thought the Giants should've drafted a quarterback when they held the #2 overall pick back in April. But whether we like it or not, New York seems to have a plan: take advantage of Manning's last years on the field.

Instead of taking a young QB for the future, they drafted the best player available to take the load off Manning's shoulders. Saquon Barkley will probably be able to do what Ezekiel Elliott was able to do in 2016: lead the offense by running the football 20 times a game and have several 100-yard performances.

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

New York Giants OG Will Hernandez

Not only that, but the front office did make an effort to re-build a disastrous offensive line by bringing in a talented left tackle in Nate Solder and by stealing the UTEP product, Will Hernandez in the second round of the draft. If the Giants are able to finally groom Ereck Flowers into a decent starter at right tackle, this could be a pretty solid offensive line.

Of course, Manning will not only be benefited from the running game, but his superstar wide receiver will be back on the field. Beckham is one of the NFL's best wide receivers and will surely be back at terrifying opposing secondaries week in and week out.

The Giants are bringing in Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher, who did a nice job for the Arizona Cardinals' defense over the last few years. With some talented defensive players, the team might not have the best squad in the league, but it doesn't seem like a defense that will struggle throughout the season.

Last but not least, the Giants will have a new head coach in form of Pat Shurmur. He's had some success in the league, lately as an offensive coordinator for a Minnesota Vikings team that managed to get to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum at QB. It was a good hire for the team, and I'm pretty sure it will be easy to do a better job than McAdoo's work with the Giants.

If I was to make a prediction, I'd say the Giants will have a handful of wins in 2018. However, I don't see them getting back into the postseason just yet. An 8-8 record sounds about right. Having said that, though, it really seems like a team that could surprise everyone and emerge as a surprise contender in the NFC East.

Do you think the New York Giants could be a surprise threat in 2018?

Tell me what you think about "Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Where Cowboys CB Marquez White Fits In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Marquez White at #216

In the 2017 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys selected four new defensive backs, three of which saw significant playing time during their rookie season.

Those three, of course, are Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods. That fourth defensive back, however, should not be forgotten about as we enter the beginning stages of the 2018 season. That player is former Florida State cornerback Marquez White.

Rather than playing alongside his rookie counterparts in the secondary, White spent time on the Cowboys practice squad in 2017. The former sixth round pick was signed to a futures contract at the end of 2017, however, and now has a chance to compete in camp once again.

Entering their sophomore seasons the starting secondary already appears to be taking shape. Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones are just about locked in to the outside cornerback jobs, Xavier Woods is expected to start at safety beside Jeff Heath, and Jourdan Lewis is battling with now third year player Anthony Brown for the slot corner role.

So where does Marquez White fit into all of this?

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

Well, the aforementioned players are locks to make the 53-man roster, but Marquez White should be the favorite to win the 5th cornerback spot going forward. White's raw talent is undeniable, and he has the ability to play under both man and zone responsibilities.

The main reason we should be optimistic about Marquez White's chances to land on the final roster, however, is his athletic profile. At 6'0" tall, just under 200 pounds, and long arms White fits the mold for what new secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks.

And, for better or for worse, Richard clearly values these measureables highly. This is evident in how second year corner Jourdan Lewis has been used thus far in mini camp and offseason activities; being relegated to second team and the slot rather than allowed to compete for an outside cornerback job with Awuzie and Jones.

So with the arrival of Kris Richard, the departure of Orlando Scandrick, the underwhelming play of Anthony Brown, and the raw talent he already possesses, Marquez White has a very strong chance of making the final 53-man roster in Dallas.



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Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady

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In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.



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