At the beginning of the Summer, there were a lot of questions about the Dallas Cowboys defensive back group. Though it typically focused on who would be the starting cornerback opposite Chidobe Awuzie, the depth offered options from several players that could compete for the starting gig. It was encouraging that the Cowboys had good depth in the event they faced some injuries during the season. Well, that depth is being tested after they released Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and now the litany of injuries they’ve faced in the last couple of weeks.
Chidobe Awuzie was moved to injured reserve and Anthony Brown will be out this week and maybe next week. That leaves the Cowboys with Trevon Diggs, who has played well, but is still in the early stages of his career and has a lot of growing to do. Jourdan Lewis and Daryl Worley figure to be the other two cornerbacks when the Cowboys are in their nickel defense.
With all of the uncertainty on the back end of the defense, the Dallas Cowboys have reservations for the chef’s table in Seattle. For the Cowboys to leave Seattle satisfied, they’ll need Xavier Woods to be the maitre d, providing the insight and answers to the menu that Russell Wilson is cooking up.
Xavier Woods is now the most experienced player in the Cowboys secondary as they face a difficult group of Seattle Seahawks pass catchers including Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Tight End Greg Olsen.
Woods has had a strong start to the 2020 season, which also happens to be a contract year. Per Pro Football Focus, Woods has allowed a passer rating of 77.1, which is tied for 23rd in the NFL among safeties that have played at least 50 coverage snaps this season. He’s ahead Tyrann Mathieu, Tre Boston, Malcolm Jenkins, Budda Baker, and Minkah Fitzpatrick. He’s also tied for sixth in the NFL in stops with six. The fourth-year safety has the ninth-best run stop grade according to Pro Football Focus and he hasn’t missed a tackle through the first two games of the season.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ passing game has been lights out to start the season with nine touchdown passes in the first two games and Woods and the Cowboys secondary will have to be on point to limit the Seahawks big play ability. With Russell Wilson on pace for an unsustainable 72 touchdown passes in the early going of 2020, the Cowboys can’t afford any mistakes in the secondary and this is where Xavier Woods’ ability and experience can help provide a stabilizing force in the secondary.
In a season where the Cowboys are installing a new defense and in a week where they’ll have a new starter at cornerback for the third straight week, Xavier Woods’ presence is imperative to the Cowboys getting in the right defenses on Sunday against Russell Wilson. His ability in coverage can be the difference in providing a safety net for the Cowboys defensive backs on Sunday afternoon.