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With Secondary Concerns, Should Cowboys Trade For S Kenny Vaccaro?

Brian Martin

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With Secondary Concerns, Should Cowboys Trade For S Kenny Vaccaro?

If the Dallas Cowboys didn’t have concerns about their secondary before Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, they sure do now. Inexperience and injuries has depleted the Cowboys secondary so much so that it has become a major concern for the foreseeable future. Luckily, a solution could be within grasp that could come via trade with the New Orleans Saints for safety Kenny Vaccaro.

The New Orleans Saints have supposedly put their former first-round draft pick, Kenny Vaccaro, on the trade block. Vaccaro was the Saints 2013 first-round draft pick and was the 15th overall selection. He possesses Pro Bowl talent, but his inconsistencies on the field have held him back so far in his career.

Kenny Vaccaro could be just what the Dallas Cowboys need to solidify their secondary. He has a versatility to play strong or free safety, and has the ability to play out of the slot as well. The Cowboys love versatility in their secondary and Vaccaro certainly provides that.

S Kenny Vaccaro

S Kenny Vaccaro

Byron Jones is arguably the most talented defensive back the Cowboys have on the roster, but he has yet to take the next step in his development. The Cowboys other starting safety, Jeff Heath, is probably best suited to be a special teams ace and reserve safety, instead of a starter. Both Jones and Heath struggled in both coverage and tackling against the Broncos, which should be a huge concern.

There were just too many times Sunday afternoon where it looked as if both Byron Jones and Jeff Heath were playing soft or out of position. There were a number of circumstances where they could’ve made a play for a short gain, but failed to do so. This is a huge concern because the safety position is the last line of defense.

Now, the safety position wasn’t the only secondary position that didn’t perform at their best against the Broncos. The Cowboys cornerbacks gave up four passing touchdowns against the Broncos and are depleted at the moment because of injuries and inexperience. Something needs to be done in order to solidify the secondary for the Dallas Cowboys.

S Kenny Vaccaro

S Kenny Vaccaro

Taking all of that into consideration, Kenny Vaccaro would likely be an immediate upgrade at the safety position. I believe he would be an excellent pairing with Byron Jones and solidify the backend of the Cowboys defense. Vaccaro’s addition would also allow Jones to play some CB if needed.

Of course, Vaccaro is currently playing under the fifth-year option for the New Orleans Saints. That means he is making $5,676,000 this year, which might be more than the Cowboys are willing to pay for a one-year rental. They could however work out a short-term extension to lessen his cap hit, but they would first have to work out a trade with the Saints.

All in all, I believe that Kenny Vaccaro could come in and help improve the secondary for the Dallas Cowboys if they are able to work out a trade with the New Orleans Saints. His versatility would allow defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to do things on the backend of the Cowboys defense he is not currently able to do.

Would you be on board with the Cowboys trading for Kenny Vaccaro?

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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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100 Comments
  • Hobbes49

    Absolutely. He would bring a little attitude as well, which outside of Scandrick is sorely lacking. Heath is not the answer.

    • Brian Martin

      Jeff Heath is serviceable, but I think he’s best suited as a reserve safety and as a special teams ace. Kenny Vaccaro would be an immediate upgrade at SS.

      • Hobbes49

        Agreed. I really hope Chido can get over his hamstring issues. We need to see if these kids can be the future. There are signs. Maybe Xavier Woods will surprise us as well.

        • Brian Martin

          Health in the secondary would go a long ways and improving the unit. That goes for everybody. I just don’t know how much the coaching staff trust Xavier Woods right now. But, I agree. Woods could receive more opportunities if things don’t improve quickly.

        • PDidIt

          But damn, if you want hamstring problems then come to Dallas. Why is that? I am excited about our young defensive backfield, I think we may have a couple trash talking rookies with the mindset, they were good enough to drafted means they have no fear playing with the big boys.

          • Brian Martin

            Hamstring injuries are probably the most common injury in the entire NFL. The Cowboys certainly have their fair share that’s for sure. Fortunately, none of them seem to be of the serious nature.

      • http://www.runtdawg.blogspot.com Shariff Runtdawg Williams

        jeff heath is awful and always has been..think back..he been toasted ,burned and run over way too many times to still be a safety in dallas…special teams MAYBE

        • Brian Martin

          What you say is partially true, but he’s also made some big plays when given the chance.

  • Nicole Ravenell Edwards

    What about giving up Dez for Vaccaro

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t understand the frustration with Bryant. He has been the lone bright spot in the passing game. He is still a top 10 WR in the NFL. Prescott and Bryant just need to work on their chemistry and better playcalling would help also.

      • Steve Johnson

        Would slow down on top10.

        • Brian Martin

          I still believe he’s a top 10 WR. His production has slipped because he’s playing with a new QB and they haven’t been able to build that bond/trust just yet.

          • Demetrius Pearce

            I blame the coaching staff for dez& daks ‘a chemistry, they need to be more creative and find ways to get him involved in the game early to gain some type of rythm to build on throughout the game , secondly the coaches have to do better at adjusting after half time we seem too one dimensional right now ..

          • Brian Martin

            The playcalling is definitely questionable. It’s become somewhat predictable and something needs to change.

          • l.a

            Yes the play calling on offense we have so many weapons need to use them more put dez in the slot in the four wide set with either Beasley or switzer and t will and butler on the edge it would open up the run.

          • Brian Martin

            I’m pretty sure they have all of that in the playbook already. It’s just a matter of time until they probably start calling those plays hopefully.

        • Datschu

          Really Steve? You believe there’s 10 better WRs in the NFL than DEZ?

          • Datschu

            If so name them…. I’m waiting

      • Todd Bostic

        I think Dez is just there to draw his 70 mil paycheck. Cole Beasley was the leading receiver last year and Terrence Williams and Brice Butler can make up for lack of receptions Dez would have brought. I think he is more of a Jerry interest. I know the connection between him and Tony Romo was great, but Dak has a better connection with Beasley. Trade Dez and save money.

        • Brian Martin

          I really don’t understand all the hate for Dez Bryant. Yes, Prescott likes to check the ball down to Beasley, but that doesn’t mean Bryant is washed up. Honestly, it has a lot to do with the playcalling. This team has a run first mentality now which will cut down on Bryant’s targets. There is no way Dez Bryant is traded.

          • Datschu

            Bruh and he gets double covered. The d rolls safety help to him every passing play…DEZ being the weapon he is OPENS UP stuff for the other WRs… learn the game guy. Holy cow

        • Datschu

          Bruh your comments show you know absolutely NOTHING about the game and how it’s played! It’s laughable!!
          DEZ is the biggest receiving threat on the team… which means every team rolls safety coverage to HIM! Every d coordinator does that with DEZ… basically he’s double covered on every route… and he still gets his….
          learn the game before you post stupid stuff guy

          • Brian Martin

            Not only do defenses usually have a safety playing over the top, but a lot of times they have a linebacker underneath.

          • Todd Bostic

            Well, I know more than you seem to think I do, but I’ll take everything under consideration.

          • l.a

            If so we need to play more upfront man with to deep safeties and on there crossing routes hand off to the other man with a little more blitzes change up from zone to man disguise the defense for goodness sake.

          • Todd Bostic

            With the linebacking group they have, they should be able to stop crossing routes, and spy the qb pretty good. And with Moore coming off suspension, their d-line should improve now, with both sides covered.

          • l.a

            Your right cause this zone ain’t working

    • Datschu

      Nicole you win the award for dumbest question of the year

      • l.a

        Stupid comment

      • l.a

        Lmao

    • PDidIt

      Nah

    • l.a

      No sir

  • Mike in Texas

    Byron Jones is the worst safety in the NFL. Has been since day one. Three years and the guy hasn’t made a single play. I’ll take Jeff Heath over Byron Jones any day because at least every now and then Heath makes a play. Jones is soft as butter, has zero ball skills, doesn’t tackle, can’t cover, takes horrible angles, etc. The guys a complete bum and has no business being on an NFL roster. Worst player in the entire league.

    • Brian Martin

      Mike, I couldn’t disagree more about Byron Jones. He is a good safety, but a lot of things he does well for the defense goes unnoticed. Yes, we would like to see him make more plays on the ball, but he just hasn’t had many chances. I was expecting him to have a breakout year this season, but I’m unsure now. Hopefully can put everything together and finally reach his potential.

      • Datschu

        Byrons problem honestly is where they drafted him. He clearly wasn’t a first round player… maybe not even a second… but the team and media have hyped him up so much the fans expect more… period point blank

        • Brian Martin

          Byron Jones possesses first-round talent. He just hasn’t been able to develop the way a lot of us had predicted. He’s played well considering everything that he is asked to do on defense.

          • l.a

            He is as a couple others are man to man corners who needs to play bump and run

      • l.a

        With more blitzing u leave any corner on an island in soft 10 yard zone away from the receiver and u will find a spot to sit in and catch the ball every time

    • ghetto eskimo

      i can see why you would say that based off of the last game, but Byron Jones is a great player, he totally took Evan Engram out of the Giants game plan… Engram was making plays against the Lions terrible safeties in week 2, those holes were not there in Week 1…. because of Byron Jones……. look at the game when Jones matched up with Gronk… gronk didn’t score until they got him away from Jones.

      • Brian Martin

        You’re exactly right. What Byron Jones is able to do for the defense is vastly underestimated. Yes, we would all like to see him get his hands on the ball more, but that’s just going to be difficult to do because of what he is asked to do by the coaching staff.

      • l.a

        Yeah he was match up man to man

    • Freddie Washington

      I AGREE BYRON JONES SUCKS. HE NEVER MAKES A PLAY. HE NEVER GETS CLOSE TO ANYBIDY. PLEASE CUT HIM. HE IS WORST THAN THAT THIEF BRANDON CARR EVER WAS.

      • Brian Martin

        Freddie, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Byron Jones lack of turnovers is because of what and how the coaching staff uses him on defense. He is vastly underrated for how much he helps the backend of the Cowboys defense.

      • Datschu

        Calm down Freddie… he’s asked to produce by the fans more than even the team

      • l.a

        Fall back sir what are u watching

    • Datschu

      Not the worst don’t over exaggerate… the problem with Byron is where he was drafted and the team and media have hyped him up to a level he can’t produce at yet… if ever…
      THAT is the problem with byron

    • Datschu

      Mike you’re delusional…

      • l.a

        Right right

  • MLV

    Yes sir, however I dont think that will happen, the Boys seem to be in love with Heath in the secondary though his play has been average at best, since getting burnt early on, they have been hesitant in bringing in big name players from other teams!

    • Brian Martin

      I think it’s doubtful it happens also. With him being in the final year of his contract they would likely have to give up a future traffic and hopefully sign him to a short-term extension. It’s doubtful they would want just a one year rental.

  • Kenyatta Adams

    That would be a great pick up for the Boys. Maybe we could trade Butler for him pls a 6th round pick. He has speed and he can hit!!!!!

    • Brian Martin

      I doubt the Saints are looking for another WR. They seem to be pretty deep at the position. But, trading a player isn’t a bad idea. Maybe someone like Tyrone Crawford, but I don’t see that happening either.

  • CWZ34

    I would be on board for any upgrade at the safety and db position. My question is would the Jones’s even trade for an upgrade. If they didnt do it before the preseason or season, knowing they needed upgrades in the backfield or at least some veterans to help guide the rookies, more in likely they wont during the season.

    • Brian Martin

      They were hopeful that some of these young defensive backs would be able to the step up and take over as starters. Unfortunately nearly all of them have been dealing with injuries the majority of the off-season. I kind of doubt the Cowboys make a move, but I believe they will keep all options open.

  • Steve Shepard

    “Hell Yeah, I Would Love To See Kenny Vaccaro & Byron Jones holding down the Last Line of Defense for the Cowboys !

    • Brian Martin

      I think they would make a really good starting duo.

    • Freddie Washington

      Vaccaro is from the Longhorn Safety Machine. He would fit in well at Dallas with their interchangeable schemes.

      • Brian Martin

        I completely agree. He has been stuck playing on a bad Saints D, so everybody associates him with losing. He is a good player that has been surrounded by mediocrity. I think Kenny Vaccaro and Byron Jones would make a really good starting duo.

  • EverybodyTalks

    I don’t know if that is a knee-jerk or not. Nate Newton had the answer after the Denver beatdown. He said to get the new guys into the game because what they experienced last Sunday was what usually takes 3 or 4 games. Play Xavier Wood and Kavon in heavy rotation with Heath/Byron. Let Jourdan Lewis, Brown and Awuzie (probably not Chidobe this week, but next week) get the reps with Scandrick. Let Carrol sit/back-up. If you look, Wood and Lewis both stuck their noses into that grinder. Xavier was even up in the slot. The other thing is, Wood was all over the field during the Rams preseason game Lewis was definitely”next man up” and pulled down his 1st interception. My own thought is bring Byron in as CB/S and do the same with Awuzie. Chidobe played both in Colorado. It’s a wrinkle.
    In other news, we are back to one Elliott. Jayrone was released and now we have 2 Moores. It makes me speculate that Hitch is returning sooner over later.

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    I say yes 4 the right price why not it will be a Big improvement in secondary right now. Thanks

    • Brian Martin

      The asking price may be the only hold up. But, I highly doubt the Cowboys make this kind of a move. I think they like what they have on the roster right now more than most people.

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    Xavier woods is going lay the wood down sooner than later as a Safety.Thanks

    • Brian Martin

      That’s what were all hoping. Woods has the talent to be a starting safety, just needs to get up to speed and gain more experience.

  • CashfloFromSTL

    We need some fresh air in the secondary definitely. My concerns are really at CB. Our two rookies are very raw right now, and needs to brought alone slowly. I wanted Joe Haden. Now’s not the time to mess around. We need secondary help!

    • Brian Martin

      Joe Hayden is vastly declining as a player. If you watch him with the Steelers he is being used and abused at will. QBs are targeting him and completing passes. I like our young CBs, they just need to get healthy and get on the field. Both of them can start right now if they were fully healthy.

  • billy jack

    come on jerry make the deal

    • Brian Martin

      It’s highly doubtful, but it is fun to debate.

  • Javier Enrique Zetina Pinelo

    definitivamente seria mejor que heath y gran ayuda aunque también hay que pensar que los tackles defensivos solo tuvieron una tacleada cada uno por lo que denver corrió lo que quiso y hay que parar primero la carrera para preocuparse después del pase observen el juego de dallas 0.9 yardas por tierra y 50 pases se necesitan urgente mente tackles defensivos y hay que ver las dificultades de dez bryant para lograr separación en este partido también teniendo que empujar para lograrlo y ser superado en lo alto en zona de anotación los vaqueros necesitan un receptor numero 1 urgentemente y de ser posible un numero dos no pueden seguir perdiendo pases corriendo malas rutas no logrando separación demasiadas necesidades básicas un 7-9 muy logico

  • Rodney Simpson

    I agree Dallas wanted to draft him out of college and heath is good but he looked tired Sunday. I also wish everyone would address the 400 pound elephant in the room. That team looked tired from the elevation issue no excuses i get it. But I have never saw the O line struggle to block anyone or Ron Leary sold us out the Broncos knew what was coming pre snap watch the game

    • Brian Martin

      The reason Jeff Heath looked tired Sunday night was because he played more snaps on defense plus he played nearly every special-teams unit. We’re just going to have to chalk up the Broncos came to a bad performance and hope everyone is able to bounce back.

      • Rodney Simpson

        I agree so you don’t believe the elevation had nothing to do with all of the players looking tired missing tackles and assignments the whole game ? Just wanted to hear your opinionBut yes we must get over it DC4L

        • Brian Martin

          The elevation may have affected them a little bit, but not enough to warrant the poor play of nearly everybody. Teams know what they’re getting into when they play in Denver and prepare themselves accordingly. The Cowboys simply played bad.

          • Rodney Simpson

            I agree on to the next game !

  • Pete186

    HELP !!! HEATH IS NOT A STARTER !!! With 15 Mill under the CAP what are we waiting for ?

    • Brian Martin

      I’m still holding my judgment on Jeff Heath’s performance until little later in the season. We are just two games into the 2017 season, but he could definitely play better.

  • Datschu

    Why would be trading for this guy be so great when the writer just said that KVs issues are the same that Dallas current safeties currently have?
    Why add another safety with untapped “potential”?

    • Brian Martin

      I think Kenny Vaccaro’s issues in large part have to do with how bad the Saints defense has been. I still believe he is a good player and would be an upgrade at the safety position.

  • PDidIt

    Hell yeah! We liked him coming out and The Saints grabbed him. It would make all the sense in the world.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree, but I kind of doubt it happens. I think the Cowboys like the players currently on the roster more than we probably do.

  • l.a

    Yes for a 3rd or 4th round pick but put him out there with Xavier woods and put Byron at corner with Orlando and either lewis or chidobe

    • Brian Martin

      I think he could be had for a 6th honestly. And that’s the great thing about him. I provide so much flexibility among the Cowboys defensive backs. There really endless possibilities of how to utilize each player.

      • l.a

        Then they need to start Monday or we will see the same all year long

  • l.a

    This is the nfl they need to show something different every game and only switch it up when it is broke if u watch game film we only run zone schemes half the time and we don’t send zeke on enough passing routes offense to simple to pick up and we run into blitzes to much

    • Brian Martin

      I agree that the playcalling has become somewhat predictable. I was really surprised that they didn’t try to get the ball in Zeke’s hands in the passing game against the Broncos. Something needs to change.

  • l.a

    Then they need to grab him now

    • Dan

      You can’t have a safety that won’t stick his nose in. Jones has got great athleticism, he can cover but that’s not that valuable when they guy can’t catch. But the biggest thing for me is he plays scared which IMO is a non-negotiable if he’s defending in the box. He simply won’t attack the ball carrier, he’ll coral and wrap up, never hit. He’d be my no.3 safety on dime packages covering a TE until his contract runs out, and no way would I be taking up the 5th year option.

      • Brian Martin

        I don’t really think Byron Jones play soft. He is best as a deep safety and that’s how they typically use him. He is usually in man-to-man coverage and not around the line of scrimmage to make a tackle. And honestly, I don’t mind his wrap up tackling. I don’t like hard-hitting safety going for the knockout shot, only to have the ballcarrier bounce off them and pick up extra yardage.

        • Dan

          He’s typically used as a deep safety but is usually in man to man coverage?……..Walk me through that.

          We’ll have to agree to disagree on the softness thing. I get not liking guys whiffing on big hits but there’s a balance between always looking to knock a guys lights out and making business decisions. And IMO Byron Jones definitely has a crisp white shirt, tie and pin stripes on.

  • l.a

    More blitzes and hands up by the De line with more push from the dt

    • Brian Martin

      I doubt we see more blitzes until the Cowboy secondary settles in

  • l.a

    More Xavier woods let’s go cowboys

    • Brian Martin

      I could see him utilized more in some sub packages. I don’t think he’s ready to take over as a starter just yet though

  • Tristan Hays

    Yeah of course it would be nice to sign him but we know that wouldn’t happen. We don’t shit like that. They are going to need to bring in a dominate D-linemen and a really good secondary player. Until we do that this will keep happening! We better beat Arizona but after that the schedule doesn’t get any easier…

    • Brian Martin

      I kinda doubt it happens to, but it’s fun to debate/discuss. Finding a dominant DL or secondary players going to be nearly impossible at this point the season. That’s why the draft is so important, because teams hang on to their really good players.

  • Anthony Ceniccola

    I like the idea, I think dallas liked him a lot in that draft and I agree he would be an upgrade in the secondary. I would trade a 5th for sure.

    • Brian Martin

      A 5th would be as high as I would go. I honestly think that a 6th would do it.

  • Ravi Campbell

    First of all how can u ask if we’d be on board with a trade when you haven’t even suggested who the cowboys might give up for him? Second, no I’m not on board to sign a player at this stage who doesnt know Marinelli’s system, and if he’s on the trading block u need to ask yourself why? It’s only one game, let’s see how this plays out before we freak out and throw in the towel

    • Brian Martin

      It was a hypothetical trade question, hence not suggesting what the Cowboys might have to give up to obtain him. But, if you’re asking, then I think they could probably get him for a 6th round draft pick in 2018. Secondly, Marinelli’s defense is rather simplistic and wouldn’t take long to get up to speed. In the meantime, he could be used in sub packages until he was ready to be a full-time starter. And the reason he’s on the trade block is probably because the Saints are probably trying to get some kind of compensation before he leaves via free agency. They don’t want to sign him to a long-term contract because they have a young player (Von Bell) waiting in the wings. And I’m not freaking out at all about the Cowboys after last week’s performance against the Broncos. I was merely throwing it out there that the Cowboys could possibly upgrade the safety position by trading for Kenny Vaccaro.

  • Tim Rafferty

    The only concern , as you indicated early in your article was ” hasn’t live up to his potential ” . Is this a byproduct of talent OR the seeming carocel of defensive schemes that have left that unit as a whole ” without ” directions ” ? Also what draft capital would it cost us ? What’s the probability he fits our future salary cap situation ? Our RTG is about to buy a island of his choice . I know we have a extension for our RTT but assuming he plays well , I see LC becoming another Eric Williams . ( The only player iv every seen MAN handle the great Reggie White )

    • Brian Martin

      I think he hasn’t lived up to his potential because he has been moved around on defense and he’s playing on a talent poor Saints D. I really think a change in scenery will help him reach that potential and become a more consistent player. I honestly believe that a 6th round draft pick next year would be enough to trade for him. But, the Cowboys would likely want to work out some kind of extension, either short or long-term to help with the salary cap. I’m not too worried about them re-signing OG Martin. That contract will be done at some point. I don’t think it would dissuade them from signing any other vet players. The salary cap increases every year also.

Player News

La’el Collins’ Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Brian Martin

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La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise 1

The decision by the Dallas Cowboys to move La’el Collins from left guard to right tackle was met by some skepticism by quite a few members of Cowboys Nation during the off-season. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of those skeptical of the move, but I’m not afraid to admit he has exceeded my expectations.

In all honesty, I always believed that La’el Collins’ best position in the NFL is on the interior of the offense of line as a guard. I thought he could use his strength and athleticism to his advantage when working in a phone booth against slower and less athletic defensive tackles. That’s not to say I didn’t think he would make a good right tackle, I just thought he had Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

Strangely enough, Collins has probably put together a Pro Bowl caliber season in his first season starting at the right tackle position for the Cowboys. He has become an upgrade over the previous starter Doug Free, and is really starting to earn high praise from the brass. Stephen Jones in particular has been impressed with Collins, especially considering how he has played after missing two full weeks of practice.

Mark Lane on Twitter

DallasCowboys COO Stephen Jones told @1053thefan La’el Collins has answered the bell after his contract extension.

I personally agree with everything Stephen Jones said about La’el Collins. I’ve really enjoyed watching his progression this season, but I have been really impressed how he played the last two weeks after missing so much practice.

You might not of known, but Collins has missed two full weeks of practice due to a herniated disc in his back. This is put his availability to play against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in jeopardy, but somehow he has toughened up and played considerably well.

This unfortunately will be something he has to continue to battle through the rest of the season, but I’m not going to bet against him playing. He absolutely makes this offensive line better and I would hate to see Chaz Green or Byron Bell back on the field after the way they played as feel-ins.

La’el Collins has without a doubt earned my respect and I think it’s about time we all recognize the player he is turning into. I know the Dallas Cowboys appreciate all that he does and believe that his recent contract extension is money well spent.

What do you think about La’el Collins?

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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

It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” 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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Dallas Cowboys

Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future

Sean Martin

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Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future 1

The New York Giants are not a good football team, but the Dallas Cowboys 30-10 win over the Giants in Eli Manning’s return to action left Cowboys Nation with plenty to be excited about as the team improved to 7-6.

In a stacked NFC, the Cowboys unfortunately did not get much help from scores elsewhere around the league Sunday, and the momentum they’ve built with two straight wins ahead of Ezekiel Elliott‘s return in week 16 has done little to improve their chances of reaching the playoffs.

The entire NFC East in 2017 has truly epitomized how quickly things can improve or fall apart in this league, as the Eagles clinching the title came at the cost of their franchise QB Carson Wentz – tearing his ACL to end his season.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys Defense?

Dallas Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis (27), Chidobe Awuzie (33) and Xavier Woods (25) warm ups before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Through all of this, including my own criticism of Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, I can’t help but get excited about the potential this young Dallas defense is showing. The Cowboys got back in the win column two weeks ago against the Redskins, shuffling their secondary with great results.

Adding Sean Lee back to this winning formula against the Giants brought things even further into focus for the Cowboys defense though. Schematically, they were cohesive through all three levels. The longest play the Giants hit on was a 35-yard completion (against the blitz) to Evan Engram – one of their lone remaining offensive threats.

When the Cowboys dropped three straight games in weeks 10-12, the defense was desperate for Dak Prescott and the offense to play up to their potential. Prescott’s career day at MetLife Stadium was perhaps the most unsurprising development from this week, as the Cowboys found out early in this season that Prescott is in fact their franchise QB, and soon the complimentary performance turned in by this scrappy defense will be just as regularly expected.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys' Defense?

Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis continue to live up to their draft status, two lengthy defenders with ball skills that have not been seen in the Cowboys secondary for some time. Sixth round pick Xavier Woods has proved valuable at every spot these coaches play him at, contributing at Nickel CB against the Giants’ Sterling Shepard and looking comfortable.

Jeff Heath came up with an interception on what may have been Eli Manning’s last pass as a Giant against the Cowboys, and played well throughout the afternoon in his rotational role alongside Byron Jones.

At linebacker, Sean Lee’s 18 tackles with an interception only further highlighted how well Anthony Hitchens has played at the other primary LB spot. I wrote in my immediate post game Sean’s Scout that I also thought Jaylon Smith could have been utilized more in this game, but the fact that he’s played in 13 straight games for the Cowboys without additional injuries is incredible enough.

Simply put, the biggest reason the Cowboys have salvaged a shot at contending for the playoffs this season is because they’ve found a way to get back to playing complimentary football on offense and defense – even with some key absences on both sides of the ball.

The game plan is a proven one. When the Cowboys run the ball, control the clock, and allow their defense to play from ahead against hurried, one-dimensional offenses they can beat anyone.

Whether or not that means 10 wins to close this roller coaster of a season – good enough for the playoffs or not – the Cowboys are doing well to prove they’ll have staying power in the NFC for years to come.

This fate was very debatable a few weeks ago, and any team that commits to turning over their defense as much as the Cowboys did in one offseason should expect something of a regression, but the Cowboys’ future is now being written in front of us by young stars on offense and defense.

Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future

Getting more than three remaining kickoffs for guys like Awuzie, Lewis, Woods, Jaylon Smith, and Lewis Neal would certainly be ideal for the end of this season. Should the Cowboys miss out on the playoffs due to circumstances past their control though, we can all spend a few months getting very excited about what these defenders will have to say about taking matters into their own hands at the very next possible opportunity.

Tell us what you think about “Playoffs Or Not, Cowboys Defense Showing Promise For Future” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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