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The Pressure is Rising for Cowboys FS Byron Jones

Yesterday, fellow writer Sean Martin wrote a good piece on reasons for optimism for the entire Cowboys secondary. I’m not quite as excited about the cornerback situation as he is, and because of that I wanted to go a little deeper on second-year man Byron Jones. Despite his youth and inexperience, I think he is still paramount to the Cowboys’ defensive success in 2016. All indication is that Jones, who shifted between cornerback and safety as a rookie, will be locked in as the free safety this year. His athleticism and skill set make him prototypical for the rangy, ballhawking “center fielder” that the Cowboys haven’t had since…

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Headlines - Pressure Rising for Byron Jones

Yesterday, fellow writer Sean Martin wrote a good piece on reasons for optimism for the entire Cowboys secondary. I'm not quite as excited about the cornerback situation as he is, and because of that I wanted to dig a little deeper into second-year man Byron Jones. Despite his youth and inexperience, I think he is still paramount to the Cowboys' defensive success in 2016.

 

 - Byron Jones, #31

 

All indication is that Jones, who shifted between cornerback and safety as a rookie, will be locked in as the free safety this year. His athleticism and skill set make him prototypical for the rangy, ball-hawking "center fielder" that the Cowboys haven't had since... ummm... ever?

The terms "free" and "strong" safety haven't meant a lot in Dallas for a while. Whether it was Barry Church or Gerald Sensabaugh, the Cowboys' top safety has had to move all around the field in various formations. Despite being ideally sized and skilled for playing down in the box, both Church and Sensabaugh have also been the best coverage players at safety and have had to play out in coverage more than you'd really want them to.

While Byron Jones will certainly be used on the occasional blitz, and Church may drop back into coverage to confuse quarterbacks, it appears they will bring back the more traditional roles of the starting safeties. This puts tremendous pressure on Jones, in just his sophomore season and first year as a full-time safety, to deliver as the last line of the Cowboys defense.

As mentioned earlier, I'm not as optimistic about the Cowboys' cornerbacks as others. Orlando Scandrick is coming back from a major injury and, frankly, has always been a little overrated. He's certainly a solid starter and appears to be a strong locker room guy. Still, I think his value has been overestimated because he's been the best of an otherwise weak position group.

Even if Scandrick comes back completely unhindered, he's not a Pro Bowl corner.

Scandrick's inflated value trickles through the rest of the group. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, who have barely been worthy starters in Dallas, will battle for the number-two job. They appear locked into the top three, barring a surprising third-year surge by Deji Olatoye.

Sadly, we've seen worse cornerback groups in Dallas. Still, this crop is going to have issues and it's going to force Byron Jones to clean up those mistakes.

If that wasn't concerning enough, it appears the Cowboys will have another year of pass-rushing issues. Suspensions to their two best talents at defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, will force unproven youngsters and journeyman veterans into starting roles early in the year. Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton could emerge as a great duo at the tackle spots but still have to prove it.

Of course, this means more time for opposing quarterbacks and receivers to let routes develop. It means the field getting stretched further and decisions having to be made on which guy to cover. And who does that impact more than anybody else on the field?

 

Cowboys Blog - Are Dallas Cowboys 1st Rounders Getting Coaches New Jobs?

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

 

Byron Jones could be the next Ed Reed, but Ed Reed wouldn't have been Ed Reed without the rest of that great Baltimore Ravens defense in front of him. Even if Jones is playing at the highest level, will his teammates give him a chance to show it?

Thankfully, Byron Jones gives the Cowboys more potential and talent at safety than they've had since at least Roy Williams. If he can make a few big plays early in the year, Jones could give opponents something new to worry about if they test him. It's been a long time since any of Dallas' safeties weren't liabilities in coverage, let alone a threat to the other team.

It's a lot to ask from a second-year player, even if he was a late first-round pick. We can only hope that Byron Jones is ready for the challenge.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

Brian Martin

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BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb

According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T

The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.

During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.

After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.

This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.

Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!



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REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur

Jess Haynie

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L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.

Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e

Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.

Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.

Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.



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REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford Kicked Off Thursday Flight

According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.

The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.

Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.

This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.

Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.

Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.



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