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Stephen Jones Had a Lot to Say About the Cowboys’ Defensive Backs

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Stephen Jones Had a Lot to Say About the Cowboys' Defensive Backs

The Dallas Cowboys secondary has been a very intriguing story over the past year. Last offseason, the front office let Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr walk out the door. Some questioned the team's ability to rebuild the unit, but it's fair to say they started off with the right foot.

Although there are still some questions regarding the defensive backs, the team did make a good job of adding Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the 2017 NFL Draft.

Thanks to the addition of these guys, the Cowboys seem to have a foundation for what we hope will become a quality defensive backfield.

However, as I said, there are still plenty of concerns that must be answered to solidify the unit. Will the Cowboys address the team's need of a safety early in the coming Draft? Will they make some free agency moves in order to reinforce the secondary? Will they try to trade for Earl Thomas?

Right now, even though cornerback depth may be concerning, I think the big question mark is at the safety position. There are a lot of possible scenarios we could see for the Cowboys, but it's hard to know which will be the final outcome.

With the NFL Scouting Combine taking place this week in Indianapolis, Stephen Jones talked to the media and talked about lots of different topics, giving Cowboys Nation a lot of things to think about and discuss.

Jones had more than one thing to say about the team's secondary, which will have a new coach for 2018 in form of former Seahawks' Defensive Coordinator Kris Richard.

David Moore on Twitter

Stephen Jones was asked if a final decision has been made on moving Byron Jones from safety to cornerback. "No," he said. "That will be a work in progress.

We've been talking about Byron Jones' situation for a while now. After playing three seasons with the Cowboys, he still hasn't found a true position. This guy has become one of the most controversial players among fans, with some loving him and some wanting him gone.

However you feel about Byron though, it's foolish to deny his athleticism and his talent. He's shown it a lot throughout his short career and despite the fact that he hasn't done enough to deserve being called a "great" safety, a switch to cornerback might be just what he (and the defense) needs.

According to Stephen, there hasn't been a final decision and it may be a while until we know about it for sure. Even still, I'm sure a lot of fans will be looking very closely to this story, especially with Richard joining the coaching staff.

David Helman on Twitter

Stephen Jones classified the Cowboys' safety spot as "a work in progress." He said if the Cowboys move Byron Jones to CB, then safety becomes thin, and is a "position of need." He added that they like Chido Awuzie as a CB, "probably moreso than as a safety." #cowboyswire

Chidobe Awuzie's versatility is often brought up when talking about the Cowboys' future at safety. While it's true he could probably get the job done, I'm relieved to see Jones saying they're happy with their second-round pick at CB.

After returning from injury, Awuzie's performance as a rookie was more than impressive. Taking the risk of losing the impact he proved he could provide just to test him out at safety would be foolish. Let's hope the Cowboys let him and Jourdan Lewis stay put and continue developing the very promising cornerback duo.

Last but not least, Jones talked about Orlando Scandrick.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Stephen Jones said the Cowboys have not made a decision on Orlando Scandrick's future with the team

Even without a final decision made, the Cowboys are not expected to keep the veteran for 2018. We've been seeing this coming for a while now, and the truth is not many people would mind him playing elsewhere.

Awuzie and Lewis certainly calmed down the uncertainty of the cornerback group and with Byron Jones potentially switching to the position, it looks like a move Dallas can afford make. Scandrick hasn't been a great on the field for a few years now, so it definitely won't be a huge loss for the team.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving and Dez Bryant being the most talked Cowboys' players this offseason, don't forget about the secondary. This group is among the most intriguing ones of the team, and it'll be fun to see how it turns out.

Tell me what you think about "Stephen Jones Had a Lot to Say About the Cowboys’ Defensive Backs" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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7 Comments
  • Michael White

    This is ridiculous that it’s taken 3 years for them to see that he is a CB..This flex, versatility thing is getting way out of hand…put the guy on 1 position and let him play and learn

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I definitely agree with you, Michael. I’d rather see them give their players solid position that try to flex them a lot. Just my two cents, though. Thanks for reading, man!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I definitely agree with you, Michael. I’d rather see them give their players solid position that try to flex them a lot. Just my two cents, though. Thanks for reading, man!

  • Travis Diggs

    This is too similar to when Scandrick had a good season at slot corner and then they moved him to outside corner and he struggled. The coaching staffs personnel decisions are very questionable at times. Byron played well at corner in his rookie season but then they moved him to safety and he struggled, this is simple math that the coaches seem to not realize or understand

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I agree, I don’t like they way they’ve handled the Byron situation. Hopefully, that changes in 2018, especially with Kris Richard. Thanks for reading, Travis!

  • EverybodyTalks

    Hopefully, Kris Richard is a stabilizing force in the secondary. It has been said before, but Byron fits the mold of a CB, not a Safety. Find another Safety in the draft and move on. This should be a positive and solidify the secondary.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I agree, and I’m excited to see what Kris Richard could achieve in Dallas. Thanks for reading!

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.



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Dallas Cowboys

4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator

Shane Carter

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Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan

The big word around the Dallas Cowboys lately is about Jason Garrett and the future of the head coaching job. Some have speculated that either Quarterback Dak Prescott or Jason Garrett will get axed, and the other will stay.

Owner Jerry Jones was quoted on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas about his young quarterback, putting to bed at least half of the conflict.

"Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young and he’s going to get extended."

This shut the door on the idea of Prescott being replaced.

As far as Jason Garrett? Jerry Jones has been less than committed.

"I’m not in the business of backing anybody; the head coach, or offensive coordinator, I just don’t back them publicly." Jerry Jones said.

So it seems that Jason Garrett’s future is up in the air.

But what about offensive coordinator Scott Linehan? What’s held the Cowboys back this year has been the offense, and a lot of it can be contributed to their predictable play calling and inability to adapt to today’s game and its current players.

Whether or not Jason Garrett retains his job, Scott Linehan’s job doesn’t seem near as secure. His scheme doesn’t really mesh with Dak Prescott and how the offense could look. There’s only so many times you can run a three tight end set and not get furious.

Cowboys fans may want Garrett gone but they might have to settle for a new offensive coordinator instead.

The good news is that there are many options out there. Options that not only could work well with Dak Prescott, but could bring the Cowboys offense into the 2010s.

Shane Waldron

Jerry Jones once said how the Cowboys offense was like the LA Rams. If they are able to sign their Co-Offensive Coordinator, then they could be.

When Matt LaFleur left to become the Tennessee Titans OC, the job became a shared job between Waldron and Aaron Kromer. I wonder if Waldron would rather have the job all to himself?

What makes Waldron so appealing is he is also the Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator. Those are two areas where the Rams excel and where the Cowboys need help.

Teams are going to start copying the offensive juggernauts of the NFL and the Rams are definitely one of them. The Cowboys should do themselves a favor and get out in front before other teams beat them to it.

Scott Turner

Cam Newton is having one of his best seasons. Not only is he an MVP candidate but he’s set to have career highs in completion percentage and QBR, as well as a career low in interceptions. Cam Newton is a very talented quarterback but some of this has to be attributed to his new Quarterback Coach, Scott Turner.

The son of Norv Turner, Scott has seemingly helped mold Cam into a more accurate passer without compromising who Cam Newton is as an athletic quarterback. That has Dak Prescott written all over it.

He's got NFL lineage and a new, scary Cam Newton to add to his resume. He may not have as impressive a track record as others on here but he looks like he could be a chip off the old block and get the Cowboys where they need to be going.

Lincoln Riley

A popular head coach candidate, Lincoln Riley has shown his creativity and offensive innovation during his short time as Oklahoma’s head coach. It’s uncertain if he’ll get any real offers to be a head coach, but as an OC, he would be a serious grab.

Everyone has seen the work he’s done with Baker Mayfield and now Kyler Murray. How he’s able to incorporate different formations to open up the pass game and have the run game seem unstoppable. Just imagine what he could do with the weapons he would have at his disposal in Dallas.

It's likely that Lincoln Riley is a hot commodity for a head coach position, especially in Cleveland where he could reunite with Baker Mayfield. That shouldn’t stop the Cowboys from trying to lure him to Dallas, though. Lincoln Riley could be the real missing piece that Dallas has been looking for.

Eric Bieniemy

Another product of Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. The former running backs coach has the experience under Andy Reid on not only how to run an offense but to use your weapons at your disposal to the fullest.

Maybe I’m over-hyping this man but when you see the work he helped put in with Pat Mahomes and how he uses those weapons around him, it makes me imagine what he can do for the Cowboy offense.

The team has no shortage of weapons and could benefit greatly from a guy like this.

If the Chiefs make it past their first playoff game, Bieniemy could become a more attractive name when it comes time for new head coaches. However, if Jerry Jones comes calling and the right offer is met, who’s to say?

If Kris Richard can be lured from Seattle to fix the Cowboys defense, Eric Bieniemy can be lured from Kansas City to fix the Cowboys offense.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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