Even in the Dallas Cowboys 25 point win over the Miami Dolphins, a performance where the defense only allowed six points, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t necessarily look sharp for a full 60 minutes. On the defensive side of the ball, they were good against a Dolphins team that came into the game averaging five points over their first two contests, but there were times when they weren’t at their best.
One of the reasons the defense was a bit underwhelming at times was the absence of two key defensive starters; Antwaun Woods and Xavier Woods. Per a report from Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning it’s looking possible that both of the Woods (not related) could return for the Cowboys pivotal NFC showdown with the New Orleans Saints.
Antwaun Woods (knee) wearing a Nipsey Hussle t-shirt, said he’s getting close to returning. Xavier Woods (ankle) is also nearing a possibility where he could practice this week.
Christian Covington and Darian Thompson acquitted themselves well in place of the defensive starters and will continue to be valuable role players for the Cowboys moving forward. However, getting starters back on the defensive side of the ball against one of the best offensive teams of the last fifteen years will be huge for the Dallas Cowboys chances to pick up the win on the road in New Orleans.
Having Antwaun Woods back is important for the 1-technique defensive tackle rotation. Christian Covington provided some nice pass rush, picking up a couple of quarterback pressures on Sunday against Miami. It’s a position that the Dallas Cowboys like to rotate to keep fresh, so having Woods back, who’s the only true 1-technique on the team would be very beneficial.
Though Thompson played well in his first start at free safety, Xavier Woods has been one of the best defenders for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Having him available would be huge for a matchup against Sean Payton’s Saints.
Xavier Woods’ has excellent awareness from the safety position. Several times this season, he’s seen a route combination developing that would take the cornerback out of the play, get in position to make the play on the wide receiver, or provide enough coverage until the corner can get back into the play.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has only allowed an average of 14.67 points per game through three games. That points per game average would look better when you consider that the Cowboys’ defense allowed a garbage-time touchdown to both the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. In the first 57 minutes of their three games this season, the Cowboys are allowing an average of 10 points per game.
They’ve been good, but obviously they’re better with both Xavier and Antwaun Woods. The physicality and tenacity they bring to the defensive side of the football plays a big role in the Dallas Cowboys defensive success.
If the Cowboys are able to get both Xavier and Antwaun back for this week’s matchup, it would give the defense a huge boost in their attempt to start the season 4-0. The Dallas Cowboys are on a roll right now and keeping the good times going in New Orleans is paramount for their playoff aspirations as the schedule only gets more difficult as the season goes along.