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Sean’s Scout: CB Bene Benwikere An Active Addition to Secondary

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Acquired CB Bene Benwikere An Active Addition to Secondary 1

One of the most surprising roster moves the Dallas Cowboys made yesterday was waiving rookie cornerback Marquez White, a move that became possible after the team traded for experienced CB Bene Benwikere prior to the cut down deadline.

When I originally scouted Marquez White right here at Inside The Star, I thought he could quickly prove to be a fifth round steal thanks to his size and scheme fit for Rod Marinelli. Instead, with Jourdan Lewis still sidelined with his hamstring injury, the Cowboys felt better about Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown, Orlando Scandrick, Chidobe Awuzie, and Bene Benwikere being their five cornerbacks on the 53-man roster.

Benwikere has bounced around plenty of teams after being cut by the Carolina Panthers in 2016, where I went back to his tape to scout what the Cowboys added to their secondary in this newest edition of Sean's Scout.

Sean's Scout: Acquired CB Bene Benwikere An Active Addition to Secondary

26 NOV 2015: Carolina Panthers Cornerback Bene Benwikere (25) [11854] rips the ball loose, but Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Cole Beasley (11) [18238] is ruled down during the NFL Thanksgiving game between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)

CB Ben Benwikere: Strengths

Like White, Bene Benwikere was a fifth round draft pick back in the 2014 Draft. Selected by the Carolina Panthers out of San Jose State, Benwikere was thought of highly by the organization as they traded up to take him.

Despite moving on from Benwikere after an infamous performance by the Panthers defense at the Falcons in week four of this season - where they allowed over 500 yards passing - there is plenty to like on the tape from this 5110, 195 pound defensive back.

Bene Benwikere Cowboys - Streamable

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The first thing that jumped out when studying Benwikere was his quick twitch movement ability and balance. This is an incredibly active player that can diagnose routes developing in front of him with adequate break on the ball.

As a sideline to sideline defender, Benwikere makes up for lack of pure, straight-line speed with the controllable burst to use the sideline to his advantage and funnel throws into coverage. His raw measurements may not be ideal for the NFL at cornerback, but the traits are there for Benwikere - as seen in the interception above as he finds a way to finish the play with his length, fluid athleticism, and balance in zone coverage.

It is this zone coverage that Benwikere was mostly asked to play in Carolina, and it is something we can expect to see more of from Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli in 2017.

While his technique and coverage assignments made it hard to solely evaluate Benwikere without the talent around him, his ability to create leverage in coverage and make up for any lapses with incredible change of direction skills is something the Cowboys can look forward to adding.

CB Bene Benwikere: Weaknesses

Bene Benwikere Cowboys - Streamable

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As mentioned, Benwikere is an incredibly active player with his foot speed. This naturally causes him to overrun some plays - particularly in run defense as Bene was asked to play in the box as a Nickel defensive back quite often.

I did see Benwikere meet opposing running backs in the hole with some stopping power on a few occasions, but his angles often left a lot to be desired when filling against the run.

Assuming for a second the Cowboys want to use Benwikere as a boundary cornerback with slot experience, relying on Orlando Scandrick inside, they are getting a player that has little experience getting physical with wide receivers and jamming their route.

Playing through any contact at all is a concern for Benwikere, as he'll get caught with his weight and momentum going backwards too often. This not only allows blockers to control Benwikere, but receivers entering his zone can easily undercut him and create separation that Bene will struggle to close up with the ball in the air.

There just aren't many plays where Bene Benwikere is being a disruptive player, something the Cowboys are looking for more of in their defensive backs.

Bene Benwikere Cowboys - Streamable

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CB Bene Benwikere: Summary

Since the moment he was drafted, everyone has realized that the Cowboys will need big things out of their second round pick Chidobe Awuzie out of Colorado. With the cut down day acquisition of Bene Benwikere, who has spent time with the Dolphins, Packers, and Bengals since his release by the Panthers in 2016, this remains the truth as Awuzie remains one of this team's top four cornerbacks.

As a depth piece to provide comfort and experience at the fifth cornerback position, it doesn't get much better than Bene Benwikere though.

A player that should fit this Dallas scheme well enough to contribute if called upon and not allow big plays, with the traits to flash around the ball occasionally, Bene Benwikere is a quality addition to a still-uncertain Cowboys secondary.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: CB Bene Benwikere An Active Addition to Secondary" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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1 Comment
  • Russ_Te

    More unsettled questions, & moving parts on defense to start this year than usual. Not getting much from the secondary rookies in pre-season, means little margin of error for the Jones’s, Scandrick’s & Heath’s until they can get help.

    Marinelli’s guys are organized & play with intensity, which is IMO the only likely saving grace for the 1st half of the season. On paper, this defense is heading for early-season problems both in pass-rush and in coverage.

    You’ve got to limit their reps with the run offense / TOP, and when it’s a big 3rd down I think Marinelli will blitz more than he likes to normally. I certainly do not want the Eli’s of the league, to stand unmolested when they need a big play.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez

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- David Irving, #95

En la NFL, la falta de noticias en Junio generalmente significa buenas noticias. Los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys saben esto mejor que nadie y en caso de que lo hayan olvidado, David Irving se aseguró de recordarle a Cowboys Nation el porque de esta frase.

La semana pasada, se anunció que David Irving recibirá una suspensión de cuatro partidos por haber violado la política de abuso de substancias de la liga. Es la segunda suspensión que Irving recibe en años consecutivos y lógicamente, esto es preocupante para el equipo de los Dallas Cowboys.

Las últimas dos temporadas hemos visto a Irving convertirse en una pieza de suma importancia para la defensiva. El año pasado, Irving consiguió siete sacks (capturas) en sólo ocho juegos y se convirtió en un caza cabezas muy efectivo.

Demostrando ser uno de los jugadores más talentosos de su posición en la NFL, es difícil imaginar el futuro del #95 en la liga. Tras recibir un tender de segunda ronda hace unos meses (explico que es eso aquí), el futuro de Irving es muy incierto. Por eso, esta semana en Cowboys en Español, exploraremos tres escenarios posibles para el defensivo de 24 años.

#1 David Irving se va de Dallas prematuramente

Hace unos días, me dediqué a defender mi posición de que los Cowboys estarían cometiendo un error al cortar a David Irving. A pesar de que realmente despedirse de un defensivo como Irving parece muy poco probable, es un escenario que debemos discutir.

Irving ha sido un dolor de cabeza para el equipo en más de una ocasión. Dos suspensiones en años consecutivos no es una buena imagen para un jugador que busca un contrato jugoso al terminar el año.

Si Jason Garrett y la administración quieren "dar un mensaje" cortando a David Irving, ¿qué tanto serviría? Esta idea de enviar un mensaje, a la hora de pensarlo fríamente, parece una idea romántica de parte de nosotros los fans. Al final de cuentas, estamos hablando de un locker room lleno de jugadores adultos y profesionales, no de un grupo de niños.

Además, bien sabemos todos que Irving no es el único Cowboy que ha tenido problemas. ¿Será el hecho de que ha ocurrido dos años seguidos razón suficiente para dejarlo ir? Personalmente, no lo creo. Los Cowboys dejarían ir a un jugador muy bueno en una posición de necesidad.

Datone Jones, Jihad Ward y Maliek Collins podrán ser suficiente. Pero David Irving es especial en el campo. Mejor tenerlo por 12 juegos a tenerlo cero.

#2 Irving se queda para el 2018, pero no más allá

David Irving recibió un contrato de un año que le pagaba (antes de ser suspendido) 2.91 millones de dólares. Si hubiera demostrado que no era problemático y que podía mantenerse al 100% toda la temporada, probablemente hubiera recibido un gran contrato de los Cowboys o de otro equipo en la NFL.

Sin embargo, el dicho lo dice todo. "En la NFL, la disponibilidad es la mejor habilidad." Irving no se ha terminado de ganar la confianza necesaria para una gran extensión.

En este punto, Dallas puede esperar a que su tackle defensivo regrese de su suspensión, juegue doce juegos con ellos y les consiga un sack por juego por menos de tres millones de dólares. Después de eso, el equipo pude darse el lujo de dejarlo ir sin una extensión y verlo convertirse en un agente libre.

Does DT David Irving Have a Future With Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving (Albert Pena / CSM)

#3 Irving se queda por más de un año

En este caso, hay dos "sub-escenarios." Suponiendo que, efectivamente, Irving regresa y juega como sabemos que puede hacerlo, no será tan fácil dejarlo ir. Si llega a sorprender y demuestra que realmente es quien creemos que es y consigue diez capturas en sólo doce juegos, ¿realmente no le dará el equipo una oportunidad?

La primera opción sería asignarle la etiqueta franquicia y obligarlo a jugar un año más para un equipo que busca desesperadamente un Super Bowl.

Si se sienten cómodos dándole el salario de una etiqueta franquicia para evitar perderlo, ¿podríamos culparlos después de que les dio por ejemplo, diez capturas? Yo, personalmente, no podría hacerlo.

La otra opción, y una que podría ser la más realista, es más simple. La inmadurez y los problemas de Irving le costarán la confianza y el interés de otros equipos y es posible que en un punto, Dallas sea el único equipo que le pueda brindar seguridad de trabajo.

De esta manera, Dallas podría ofrecerle una extensión de dos, tres o más años a un precio mucho más barato que el de cualquier DT que consiga dos dígitos de sacks.

✭✭✭✭✭

David Irving sin duda tiene un futuro incierto delante de él. Realmente sería una sorpresa verlo fuera de Dallas en el 2018, pero más allá, quien sabe lo que pueda pasar. Por ahora, esperemos que una vez que vuelva de la suspensión, esté en forma para ir detrás de los quarterbacks oponentes.

Con un poco de suerte, quizá nos olvidaremos de esto en Noviembre.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: 3 Escenarios Para el Futuro de David Irving" 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

Is Kris Richard Actually Jason Garrett’s Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli’s?

Brian Martin

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Is Kris Richard Jason Garrett's Replacement, Not Rod Marinelli's?

Much has already been made about the Dallas Cowboys hiring of Kris Richard. He was brought in to be this year's defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, but it's a title I don't think he will hold for long.

It has already been speculated that Kris Richard will become Rod Marinelli's successor to become the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. Marinelli in fact contemplated retirement after the completion of the 2017 season, but decided to give it another go in 2018. But, anything beyond that is unknown at this point.

It isn't that hard to believe that Kris Richard will be the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator. He already has a pretty good track record as a DC from his time with the Seattle Seahawks (2015-2017). During that time, the Seahawks had one of the better defenses in the league, which is why a lot of Cowboys fans are excited about what he can do in Dallas.

This was a terrific hire by the Dallas Cowboys. Richard is one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the league today and is highly respected around the league. For him to take a step back from defensive coordinator to become the DB coach/passing game coordinator in Dallas is a little confusing.

Why would he take a step back in his coaching career to come to the Dallas Cowboys?

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys DB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard

Before he agreed to come to Dallas, Richard interviewed for the head-coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts. To already be considered a head-coaching candidate tells you all you need to know about the trajectory of Richard's career. Again, why take a step back with the Cowboys?

We all know that Jerry Jones is a fantastic salesman. He must've been able to convince Richard that he has a chance at a big promotion sometime soon. But, would a promotion to defensive coordinator be enough for Richard? Does he have his eyes set on something bigger?

I know that I'm not alone, but Jason Garrett is on thin ice this season. If he doesn't at least get the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs this year, he could be looking for a new job, which would create a vacancy at head coach. This could be the kind of opportunity Kris Richard is looking for.

I find it a little hard to believe that Kris Richard would be willingly to come coach in Dallas knowing that the entire coaching staff could be dismissed after the season if Jason Garrett isn't successful. That's not typically the kind of job security you look for, so something has to have been promised to him behind closed doors.

I know it's a lot of speculation right now, but I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibility. Someone is going to have to replace Jason Garrett if he falters this season and Kris Richard is a logical choice. After all, it's kind of the way Garrett became the head coach of the Cowboys when he replaced Wade Phillips. Could history repeat itself?

Do you think Kris Richard is Jason Garrett's eventual replacement?



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Star Blog

NFC East Position Rankings: The Quarterbacks

Kevin Brady

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5 Points: Thoughts on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule 1
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The long NFL offseason is finally beginning to come to a close, with teams participating in mandatory mini-camps and training camps just a month away. Still, though, there is a lot of time left before the 2018 NFL season really begins.

With that time it's always fun to rank things and put together lists. I mean, who doesn't love a good article ranking players? Over the next few weeks I'll be ranking position groups in the NFC East to see which team comes out on top.

Today we begin with the NFC East quarterbacks, arguably the most scrutinized position group in all of sports.

4. New York Giants QB Eli Manning

Though he is the most accomplished quarterback in this division, Giants QB Eli Manning comes in last in our current rankings. Manning has seen his play decline throughout the years, even being benched in favor of Geno Smith late in 2017.

With a healthy cast of pass catchers and rookie running back Saquon Barkley surrounding him, however, Manning could be poised for improvement in 2018.

The Giants offense might be the best in the league if each game was a 7 on 7 tournament, so it will be interesting to see how Eli Manning performs this season.

3. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith

The newest starting quarterback in the NFC East is Washington's Alex Smith, and he comes in third in our rankings. Smith has gotten the reputation as a check-down artist throughout his career thus far, but when surrounded by the right talent he can be very effective.

Smith had arguably his best season to date in 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs, but I just don't see Washington's offense being nearly as dangerous as those Chiefs were a year ago.

To me, Smith is at best a marginal upgrade over former starter Kirk Cousins, and won't bring too much of a difference over the long haul in Washington.

2. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Second on our list is Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The now third year quarterback is coming off a bit of a "sophomore slump" to end his 2017 campaign, though his first season and a half warrant him our number two spot.

I expect Prescott to look like himself in 2018, especially with the improvements the Cowboys made to their offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott should be available for all 16 games, and the turnover in the receiver group gives some cause for optimism as well.

Prescott is the former Rookie of the Year and has had a good start to his career thus far, but sorry, Cowboys fans, we can all admit Dak Prescott doesn't deserve the top spot as of now.

1. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

The top quarterback in the NFC East right now is Eagles QB Carson Wentz. Wentz was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2017 prior to his injury, and once returning to full health Wentz should be able to impress once again.

The Eagles offense was downright dominant while Wentz was healthy, and though they did win the Super Bowl without him, Wentz brings their productivity to another level.

And with arguably the best supporting cast of the entire division, Carson Wentz is poised for success going forward.



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