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Is Byron Jones the Dallas Cowboys Emergency Safety?

Brian Martin

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Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys are currently thin on the backend of their defense, better known as the safety position. They may not admit to it, but we all know it and they know it as well. But, even though they don't have the depth many of us would prefer, things might not be as bleak as it looks from the outside looking in.

If the season were to start today, we would probably see Jeff Heath reprise his starting role and either Xavier Woods or Kavon Frazier lining up next to him. I don't know if that would be considered an upgrade from last season or a downgrade. There is just too much unknown right now.

Personally, the Cowboys current safety depth is the most concerning position on the roster right now for me. What if something were to happen to one of those three safeties (Heath, Woods, Frazier)? That would deplete the already thin depth even more and severely handicap the entire defense.

You concerned yet?

The Cowboys speak highly of the current safeties, but that could be just smoke and mirrors. Of course, they could be willing to roll the dice because they know they have someone who can fill in in an emergency situation if needed.

Byron Jones, Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys DBs Byron Jones and Xavier Woods (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Yes, I'm talking about Byron Jones. The same player many Cowboys fans have wanted to completely wash their hands of. He may not be the player he was hyped up to be as a first-round draft pick in 2015, but he does have starting experience at safety and didn't perform too poorly during his time there. In fact, I thought he played pretty well.

It's old news now, but when Kris Richard was hired, the first decision he made was to move Byron Jones back to cornerback. Richard likes the taller/longer limbed CBs in his secondary, and Jones fits the bill to a T. But, that doesn't necessarily mean Jones won't be utilized in other areas of the secondary in 2018.

The Dallas Cowboys are fortunate enough to have some really good young cornerbacks on their roster. Chidobe Awuzie looks like a star in the making and could be a favorite to earn his first Pro Bowl bid this season. Jourdan Lewis didn't look out of place last year either and is more than capable of starting on the outside in the NFL. And, let's not forget about Anthony Brown, who has started for the Cowboys as well.

I believe it's the Cowboys depth at the CB position which could make them feel more comfortable about rolling the dice with how thin they are at the safety position. Byron Jones' versatility to play several positions in the secondary could come in real handy this season.

Luckily for the Cowboys, Byron Jones is still under contract for at least a few more seasons while they figure all of this out. Without him, I think they could be in real trouble if an unfortunate injury were to occur.

Do you think Byron Jones is the Dallas Cowboys emergency safety?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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11 Comments
  • Ethan Chazin

    so so SO sick of this tired meme @ the insufficient Safety situation. Yes, Xavier Woods and Kavon Frasier are relatively unproven but at some point you roll with youth and athleticism. You think any retread Kenny Vacarro FA safety is better? No, we have these guys, Heath who is a competent box SS and…Byron Jones? Okay. I realize TE, WR and Safety are relatively unproven but this team turned over most of its roster in the past 3-4 years while remaining competitive. I love the increase in talent making our roster one of the youngest while adding depth and breadth from a competition standpoint. Gone are the days when players who make our roster couldn’t start for many other teams, so that now guys that might note make our 53-man will catch on and play for other teams. We will be fine at safety. You watch…with our D line, LB unit and CBs, this will be a solid top 10 D.

    • Brian Martin

      My only problem with the safety position is the depth. If someone were to get hurt, I think it would severely handicap the entire defense. I was just merely trying to point out that things might not look as bleak as a lot of people would like to believe because the Cowboy still have Byron Jones, who played better at safety than a lot of fans would like to believe.

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      Yes, granted healthy D line & improved LB play all should go well
      But the NFL rarely excuses any one team of injury
      However
      The article is about (key word) an EMERGENCY backup player not if all goes well

  • Nick Russo

    I think that Byron jones is a good safety option (no pun intended) should heath, Woods or Frazier get hurt. As you mentioned, we have enough depth at CB that it wouldn’t hurt us so much. I agree that Byron did play well at his time as a safety but I have always thought he was better suited as a CB watching him his rookie year. While I worry about depth, I believe that woods and a combo of Frazier/heath might be good enough given the defense in front of them. I’ve read good things about Kam Kelly being a possible depth safety and even wonder if a guy like a Marquez white, who is big and has some talent, might be able to line up at safety in a pinch.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Nick. Marquez White is intriguing, but I think he’s probably going to stay at CB for now. I think that’s his best chance to make the team. Kam Kelly from what I’m hearing has been playing mostly CB as well, but his long-term future may be at safety.

      • Nick Russo

        Yea I agree, I know White fits coach Richards mold for long corner, but I can’t imagine him seeing the field with chido, Byron, jourdan, and Anthony brown in front of him. For the first time in a long time it’s nice to see a defense so young and potentially so talented. Amazing they were able to rebuild it with so much youth and talent so quickly.

        • Sexcdex Xfact

          Exact sentiments I’ve shared in posts prior to this article

      • Sexcdex Xfact

        Again
        I agree

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      I agree also

  • Sexcdex Xfact

    I was going to repeat comments I’ve posted prior to this that would echo those posted here
    I agree they know they can fall back to Byron Jones at safety
    Chido & Wii’s also played a considerable amount at safety in college
    Kam Kelly & the seemingly forgotten Marquez White also may be on the horizon especially with Coach Kris Richards in the mix
    Heck, it really don’t feel like a crap shoot at all due to all this potential
    Roll with it Big D

  • Ddenney1

    Early Jones showed a lot of promise but fell off in the last 2 years! I think a REAL pass rusher solves a lot of ills but this team seems about offense! I miss the DOOMSDAY defense of the past. if they draft well on the D it will solve most problems for the Cowboys. I am still not sure if Garret can handle clock management which is surprising for a coaches son and former QB!!!! Garret doesn’t seem capable of half time adjustments!!!!!!!!

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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