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Is Byron Jones Poised For 1st Pro Bowl Season?

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say I've been bullish on Byron Jones' potential as a Cowboy is probably an understatement. When drafted 27th overall, I believed Jones would be the steal of the first round, positioning himself as a versatile and athletic piece of the Cowboys defense for years to come.

Through the first few seasons of his career, the results have been mixed. At his best Byron Jones has looked like a shut down defensive back, eliminating opposing tight ends and using his length to dominate in coverage.

At his worst, Jones has been overpowered and run over, especially when asked to play in the box. He's been misused and has fell victim to some poor game-planning on the part of Cowboys coaches.

While I continue to lead the Byron Jones bandwagon which looked to be slowing down, the Cowboys hiring of Kris Richard was the jumpstart that we needed.Is Kris Richard Jason Garrett's Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli's?

The former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator sees Byron Jones in the mold of the Legion of Boom; a long and athletic cornerback who can be used on the boundary to eliminate opposing top receivers. This runs counter to how he was often used a year ago, as a box safety covering tight ends and often defending the run.

Clearly, physicality is one of Jones' weaknesses, but playing on the boundary as a corner will minimize the number of times he has to get physical in the tackle box. Rather, he'll be on the outside in coverage against wide outs who often don't want to hit.

Kris Richard is allowing Byron Jones to play to his strengths, instead of having to constantly fight through his weaknesses.

2017 was probably Jones' worst season yet, but this role change should revitalize his young career. He will finally be where he's supposed to be and where he thrived during his rookie and sophomore seasons.

Plus, playing opposite of Chidobe Awuzie, Jones will be in his best position to excel as a cornerback yet. If all goes right, these factors could result in a Pro Bowl appearance for Byron Jones.



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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1 Comment
  • Travis Diggs

    Slow down there. I think Byron will have a decent season but this defense hasn’t produced a lot of all-pro/pro bowl players outside of Sean Lee and D Law this past season

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.

Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.

Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.

El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.

En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.

Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.

El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.

Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.

Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.

Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.

Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.

Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory" 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

Will the Cowboys Faith in Randy Gregory Pay Off?

Brian Martin

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Will Cowboys' Faith in DE Randy Gregory Pay Off?

The Dallas Cowboys have already shown a tremendous amount of faith in Randy Gregory. First when they decided to draft him in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft despite his well-documented drug problems, and then again standing by him throughout his suspensions. Dallas could've easily moved on and nobody would have criticized them for doing so.

Instead of casting Randy Gregory aside, the Cowboys decided to show a little faith in the young man in the hopes that he would be able to not only put his personal life in order, but also make a return to the field. Luckily, that faith is looking as if it could pay off.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that earlier this week Randy Gregory was officially granted his reinstatement back into the NFL. That means he will be joining his teammates at training camp in a few days time, hopefully getting his football career back on track.

This has to feel like a huge accomplishment for not only Gregory, but for the Dallas Cowboys as well. It's never easy to look in the mirror and know that you have to make some huge life changes, let alone doing what's needed to make those changes. But, that's what Randy Gregory has done and he owes a huge thanks to the Cowboys organization and his teammates.

True or not, but I'm not sure he would've been able to turn his life around if not for his teammates and the Dallas Cowboys organization. Accomplishing such a task on his own may have been an insurmountable obstacle to overcome, but the support system he had behind likely made a big difference in the outcome of his journey.

Randy Gregory

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory

In fact, if not for a few of his teammates he may not have earned his reinstatement back into the league at all. Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, and Jeff Heath all personally took the time to write letters to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, on Gregory's behalf.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

Randy Gregory's reinstatement included a number of powerful letters from teammates. Here are the letters that Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, and Jeff Heath all wrote to the commissioner.

I encourage you to read each one of those letters because those are three well-respected leaders with the Cowboys and they know what getting Randy Gregory back on the field can do for him personally.

But, the question still remains…Will Randy Gregory reward the Cowboys faith in him?

Being a realist, I try to view the situation as it is. Gregory is on thin ice with the NFL and the slightest slip up would likely end any chance of a career in the league. For someone who has had so many slip-ups already, it's hard to imagine him keeping his nose clean so to speak.

However, I think he can still succeed. He has a family now he has to play for and a different way of viewing things that could make all the difference. Plus, he also still has the support system in place that helped him get to this point in the first place.

So, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that 2018 is just the beginning of Gregory's long NFL career.

Do you think the Cowboys faith in Randy Gregory will pay off?



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Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory’s Impact on Cowboys Defense

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

The Dallas Cowboys report to training camp next week, and for the first time in a long time there may be more excitement for their defense compared to a largely reshuffled offense. This hype for Rod Marinelli's defense, bolstered by the addition of Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, was elevated earlier in the week when the Cowboys learned Defensive End Randy Gregory would be reinstated.

Gregory's presence as a potential starting right defensive end is an uplifting one for the Cowboys as they depart for Oxnard. Above all else, this is a rare turn of fortunes for a player the NFL can now tote as a success story.

Once Gregory's focus shifts towards taking hold of that starting DE position for good and giving the Cowboys a pass rush of him and DeMarcus Lawrence off the edge, his impact could change the entire complexion of this defense.

After watching Gregory's last game for Dallas, a week 16 win in Philadelphia back in 2016, here is what I saw from the Cowboys "Christmas in July" addition to their defensive line.

Gregory3

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

This first clip is probably Gregory's most memorable play through three seasons with the Cowboys. Two teams going in opposite directions since this game, the Cowboys have cycled through their rotation of pass rushers to play the weak side -- with nobody coming close to the athleticism and bend Gregory displays here.

Already planning on attacking the offensive tackle to the outside with his long arm approach, Gregory regains his balance avoiding the low block to get even with Carson Wentz and finish the play. This type of relentlessness is a signature of the Cowboys defense under Marinelli, now fielding a deep group of defensive ends around Gregory and Lawrence.

Gregory1

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

Just how much Gregory comes off the field for the likes of Tyrone Crawford, rookie Dorance Armstrong, Charles Tapper, or Taco Charlton will be determined by his ability to hold up against the run. This was a strength for Gregory against the Eagles, as his cornering ability helped him chase down plays all over the field.

It's hard to understate just how important Gregory's speed and range from this RDE spot could mean to the Cowboys, especially given their changes at linebacker for the 2018 season.

This is a team that's also added plenty of range to the second level of their defense with rookie Leighton Vander Esch and another year of Jaylon Smith.

These linebacker's ability to shoot gaps and be disruptive in the backfield will be aided by the depth Gregory is capable of gaining with ease against left tackles.

Gregory2

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

Gregory does have a tendency to play upright at times and offer a larger blocking area than needed. As you see above, this can help him as an all-around player, as chasing down the run to the outside comes easy for him.

The Cowboys won't be at full strength at defensive tackle to start the season, with David Irving suspended for the first four games again. Maliek Collins is also coming back from another broken foot, as him and Gregory will be important to watch progress through training camp.

The overall potential for a Cowboys defensive line featuring all three of these players, and the rotational pieces behind them, is incredibly high for a team just looking to get back to their roots this season.

For the Cowboys in 2018, this means running the ball effectively, limiting turnovers on offense, and protecting the lead on defense. Randy Gregory significantly helps the Cowboys do the latter here, improving an already fearsome pass rush in ways that few players are capable of.

This is ultimately why the first-round talent fell to the second round for the Cowboys, who took the risk on Gregory and are now on the long path back towards seeing this gamble pay off, something a very thankful Gregory must see through on the field.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory’s Impact on Cowboys Defense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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