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It’s Time For Xavier Woods To Start At Safety

Kevin Brady

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It's Time For Xavier Woods To Start At Safety 1
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys defense is a bad unit right now.

Unable to create pass rush from anyone not named DeMarcus Lawrence, and unable to get any type of consistent linebacker play from anyone not named Sean Lee, the Cowboys simply cannot make stops when they need to most.

Now, after failing the offense on Sunday and allowing 35 points in their own building, I believe it is time for a change at the safety position.

At cornerback, the Cowboys have actually been okay. Jourdan Lewis looks like the team's best corner, Anthony Brown has had some impressive flashes, and Chidobe Awuzie gave us reasons to be excited when healthy.

At safety, however, the Cowboys have not bee good enough.

As anyone who has read my work before knows, I am a huge Byron Jones fan. Going into the season I stated that Jones was the second best player on the Cowboys defense. I also believe he is one of the more underrated and underappreciated players in the NFL.

So far this year, he has had some great moments, but has also had some bad moments (specifically against Denver). Still, Jones is this team's best current option for his position. I may be open to letting him play corner if Awuzie can play safety, but that's a discussion for another time.It's Time For Xavier Woods To Start At Safety

The change that needs to be made, is starting rookie Xavier Woods over veteran Jeff Heath.

Heath has become a fan favorite over the years, seeming to always be at the right place at the right time for takeaways and important plays. But he has simply been bad this season, and a change at his position is warranted.

Heath's angles when coming downhill to tackle have been poor, and his coverage has left much to be desired. Rookie Xavier Woods, however, looks like the team's best safety already when on the field.

By allowing Xavier Woods to play and grow with fellow rookies Lewis and Awuzie, as well as with Byron Jones and Anthony Brown, the Cowboys will get a look at their secondary of the future right now.

I believe it is time for Woods to get the nod over Heath. Unfortunately, I don't know if it is realistic to expect the change be made this early in the season. If Heath continues to start, and this defense continues to struggle, then it may be too late for the Cowboys' season once the coaches finally make the switch.

Let's hope they wake up sooner rather than later.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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9 Comments
  • Robert Palmer

    agreed

  • Pete186

    You hit the nail on the head !!!

  • Pete186

    Heath is just not starting material

  • Russ_Te

    I think Wood’s size is a problem at SS, but will stand corrected if that’s where he starts and he’s not getting run over. Definitely making an impact on the downs he comes in.

    I wanted to use the top post on the board to open fire on Terrance Williams, and lobby again for his trade ASAP. Last play of the game / 4th down:

    Wind your game back to the play. Elliott catches the ball 7 yards from the marker as every Cowboy fan groans that the ball is not thrown past the stick. But he is Zeke Elliott. Locate Rams #23 Robey-Coleman, and Williams on the play.

    EE catches the ball and Williams totally stops. Robey-Coleman has to close on the play from the outside, and Williams simply lets him. You go after that guy and try to block him out of the play. If EE just has 2 Rams on him instead of 3, he might have bulled that ball past the stick.

  • dallas1966

    Wholeheartedly agree, it’s time for a change in the secondary. Might have to right the wrong on the offensive line and linebackers too.

  • Travis Diggs

    I got called a racist for stating that Jeff Heath was not athletic enough to be our starting safety in preseason Pull up my old posts anybody!! 4 weeks in and theirs a article on here calling for his job, Aint this bitch

    • Russ_Te

      Heath is one of these project guys who somehow hangs on for years without somebody coming in and knocking him off the team. This is his year to turn the corner to legit SS, and it’s not happening yet.

      You miss on most projects, but then you need to have a different solution ready.

      While it will never happen this year, I still wouldn’t mind trying Jaylon Smith out for SS. He had a long run in pursuit Sunday that proved most of his speed is back. If it were to work, he’d terrorize receivers.

  • William Gray

    I agree. Heath doesn’t need to start. Woods in that secondary would be great.

  • Vale Torres

    While replacing DBs,go ahead and find a replacement Headcoach. Even if the Cowboys make the playoffs this season,they will get outcoached. Garrett does not make the right changes at halftime and has mismanaged the clock in the past. Will not get better anytime soon and the clock is ticking on this team “NOW”!

Star Blog

QB Dak Prescott Continues To Come Through In Clutch Situations

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott Continues To Be Money In Clutch Si

Dak Prescott is possibly the most criticized quarterback in all of football.

Of course, this comes with the territory of being the Cowboys starting quarterback, but each throw Prescott attempts is placed under an intense microscope, even by NFL standards. We analyze every snap of every game, looking to find where Dak was right or wrong with this reads.

There's no question, though, that Prescott has been inconsistent throughout his young career. Week to week, drive to drive, and even play to play, we seemingly have no gauge on just how Dak Prescott will perform.

One scenario where we can say with confidence he will come through, however, is when it matters most. Last Sunday, in yet another must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott orchestrated a game winning drive to lead his team over the favored Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys offense was pedestrian for much of the afternoon, but when Prescott got the ball in a tied game, I felt confident he would give Brett Maher a chance to win the game. Even on the road, and even after the offense had struggled a bit through the air all day.

Prescott got the ball late in the fourth quarter, looking to answer former NFL MVP Matt Ryan's game tying touchdown strike to Julio Jones. Dak went for it all on the first play, looking for Michael Gallup deep down the sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. After that throw, Prescott went 4/5 for 45 yards, including a huge completion to Cole Beasley, putting Dallas in game winning field goal range.

This confidence in Dak Prescott is justified, as is shown by his numbers in late game situations. Prescott now has 12 game winning drives, tying him for the league lead over the last three seasons. For comparison sake, Eagles starter Carson Wentz has just 3 game winning drives over that same stretch.

Overall the box score shows a rather quiet day for Prescott, but it was exactly the kind of Sunday they need from him. He completed over 60% of his passes, ran for a touchdown, and avoided the key turnover which could have sung this close game.

He played efficient football, and gave the Cowboys a chance to win it late. Then, he did what he does best, making plays in clutch situations and coming through in the 2 minute drill.

For all of Dak Prescott's flaws, those end-of-half and end-of-game situations have been a clear strength for the young quarterback, and continued to be this week.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" 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!



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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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