The Dallas Cowboys played arguably their sloppiest game of the 2016 season last Sunday night in primetime against the Philadelphia Eagles, but still managed to somehow come away with a win in overtime. Unfortunately, that victory came at a high price, costing them the services of Morris Claiborne and Barry Church for an unknown amount of time.
Church (arm) and Claiborne (groin) have been the Cowboys best two play making defensive backs so far in 2016 and that productivity will be difficult to replace.
Now, there is no way that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff is going to tip their hand about how they're going to reshuffle their secondary, but there is one player in particular that I will guarantee helps them survive until Church and Claiborne return to the lineup.
Byron Jones is in his second year with the Cowboys and has become a jack-of-all-trades player on the backend of the defense. Jones has played cornerback, both inside and in the slot, safety, and even matched up one-on-one with tight ends in his short time in the NFL.
This year though, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has been using Jones mostly at free safety. So for, we have seen him line up as a single high safety and sometimes as a two deep safety with either Barry Church or J.J. Wilcox.
Jones' versatility is one of the reasons why the Dallas Cowboys fell in love with him to begin with and it's that valuable skill set that will help the defense survive the injuries to Claiborne and Church.
Now, I'm not saying that Byron Jones' role on the Cowboys defense will change all that much. In fact, it might not change at all. But, with his unique skill set he can be used in a variety of different ways to help combat against the losses due to injury.
Don't get me wrong, I don't expect Byron Jones to do this all by himself. It is going to take a team effort to replace the productivity of Church and Claiborne.
Fortunately, Orlando Scandrick looks like he was back to his old self against the Eagles. I expect he will split time at left cornerback and in the slot with rookie CB Anthony Brown, who by the way has played fantastic already as an injury replacement.
To a depth at the position, the Dallas Cowboys recently signed Leon McFadden to the active roster. I don't really think we'll see much of him unless there's some kind of injury.
At safety, I think J.J. Wilcox will be taking over for Barry Church as the in-the-box safety. He has really stepped up his game this season and looks to build upon that now that he's been thrust into a starting role.
Jeff Heath will also be in for a larger role on defense and despite a lot of fans resentment of him, he is reliable when his number is called.
So, even though the Dallas Cowboys defense takes a huge hit with Morris Claiborne and Barry Church out with injuries, there are players on the roster to fill the void. But, out of everybody in the Cowboys secondary, I think it will be Byron Jones' unique versatility that helps the defense survive until reinforcements arrive.
Do you agree or disagree?
Please for free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
Cowboys WR Allen Hurns: Number 88 Is “All Dez”
Friday, the Cowboys "finally" made a splash in free agency, and did so in a big way. By signing former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns to a two year deal worth $12 million, Dallas bolstered their weak receiving corps with another big-bodied threat.
Due to some similarities in their game, and the number of resources already invested into that wide receiver room, some have anticipated that the signing of Hurns signals the end of Dez Bryant's time in Dallas.
Allen Hurns, however, clearly has different plans.
Not sure what number I'll be rocking yet but that 88 all Dez
Hurns took to Twitter to state that the number 88 is "all Dez," hinting that both he and Bryant will be on the roster in 2018. A receiving corps with both Hurns and Bryant can be dangerous, especially if used correctly.
Allen Hurns may "look" like an X receiver, but he has the ability to move into the slot as well. He can be used as a compliment to what Bryant does, and is a legitimate number two option for the Cowboys going forward.
While Hurns may believe that Bryant is safe, Terrance Williams may not be. Williams has struggled with inconsistencies and bone-headed plays during his time in Dallas, and most fans believe it's time to move on from him. The problem is, the Cowboys just paid him.
According to cap gurus, Dallas gets basically nothing back from cutting Williams, meaning they may need to find a trade partner if they want to move on. Reacting to the public reaction of the Hurns signing, Williams also took to Twitter to voice some frustrations.
Lol at people seriously!
Yes, it appears he read your tweets.
The Cowboys now have a lot of wide outs on their roster, all fighting for roster spots and playing time. Hopefully, this competition breeds success in the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
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