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Will Jeff Heath Take Over “TE Eraser” Role in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Jeff Heath Shines During First Day of Mini-camp
Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Safety remains one of the biggest concerns for the Dallas Cowboys for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. While there are quite a few promising young players like Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier, the team doesn't have a clear-cut starter at the position, let alone two.

27-year old Jeff Heath will contend for a starting role being the player with the most experience at the position. Although it doesn't sound like an ideal scenario at all, it appears that will be the case for the Cowboys' secondary.

Since joining the team in 2013, Heath has had Cowboys Nation arguing and debating whether he's actually good or not. To be quite honest, I believe him to be a decent starter in the league, but nothing special. 2018 is the year to prove he's worthy of starting in the long-term.

With Byron Jones moving to cornerback full-time, it's time to wonder who will take up his role of erasing opposing tight ends? It's something Jones truly excelled at, being able to go up versus some of the best TEs in the league and win constantly. It's also something that he should stop doing if he truly finds his home at cornerback.

Ideally, he'll be helping on the outside or even on the slot and not dealing with tight ends.

Dallas Cowboys' writer Bryan Broaddus hinted at Jeff Heath taking up that role for 2018. During a live stream from "Somos Cowboys" with Ambar Garcia, Broaddus mentioned that as of right now, it seems like #38 will be filling that spot.

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys' Defense Silently Shined, Jeff Heath Saved The Season 1

Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath (Cary Edmondson / USA TODAY Sports)

If he succeeds at it during training camp and preseason, Heath could be making sure he'll be a starter once the season begins. With his physicality and his athleticism, he should have what it takes to deal with opposing tight ends in a division that features Zach Ertz, Evan Engram and Jordan Reed.

He'll also have to prove his worth in the running game, though. When Jones was erasing tight ends, he constantly struggled playing in the box and tackling in the run game. For Heath, it's important he can bring the runner down and willing to make contact to keep executing this role.

Jeff Heath is without a doubt one of the most intriguing players on this roster. Starting in 15 games last year, and now with no Byron Jones at the position, it's his time to step up as a player and as a leader. Last month, I wrote about why we shouldn't rule out Heath as a captain candidate.

Jeff Heath has been an heroic player at times, like when he hit Derek Carr just before he could end the Cowboys' season last year. But how constant and how reliable will he be a starter in 2018? Hopefully, he and whoever starts on the other side of the field can do enough to calm our concerns at the safety position.

Tell me what you think about "Will Jeff Heath Take Over “TE Eraser” Role in 2018?" 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!



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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3 Comments
  • John Williams

    I really like the versatility that Heath and Woods bring to the table. They both can play deep and both play a little man to man. I think their versatility will allow the Cowboys to stay in their base 4-3 more on early downs when teams go into 11-personnel. They can stay big to stop the run.

    • Sexcdex Xfact

      That’s ok
      Really it is, but we need to add one more dynamic piece to the equation here
      &
      Not necessarily Earl T

  • Sexcdex Xfact

    6yrs is enough to know if a player is a fit it no
    I like what Jeff has given us but I just feel Dallas is giving players like A. Brown & J. Heath a final lookover before trade deadlines & such, (worse case scenario)
    &
    For rotatational/depth purposes, (best case)
    Dallas need to cement this position as not to further expose an already exposed secondary/defensive back half of the field
    Flexibility is both our strength & weakness
    A very capable veteran and/or an outstanding 2nd-3rd yr safety is needed
    Why chance such vital needs in an era of rebuild
    We are thin in the safety position
    Dallas WILL address it prior to this year’s trade/free agency deadlines

Star Blog

Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Defense Better Or Worse Then Last Season?

Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.

2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.

Injuries.

As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.

Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.

Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.

Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.

Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.

The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.

Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.

We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.

With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.

Tell me what you think about "Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern" 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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Star Blog

The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up

Brian Martin

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Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle Heating Up 1

Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.

The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.

As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.

Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.

Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.

Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.

I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.

All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.

How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?



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Star Blog

Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?

Brian Martin

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Decision not to Play Dan Bailey against the 49ers a Concern? 1

With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.

Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.

I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.

I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?

Dan Bailey

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.

Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.

Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.

Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?



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