The Dallas Cowboys’ secondary is almost entirely revamped this season. Could it actually be better than it was last year?
When the Dallas Cowboys decided against re-signing Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Barry Church, most thought they were poised for a rough year on the back end of their defense. Managing to only sign journeyman cornerback Nolan Carroll in free agency, it looked as if they Cowboys were totally devoid of veteran talent in their secondary.
Heading into their first preseason game of the new year, the back end doesn’t look to be as much of a glaring weakness as it once did.
Although it’s tough to assess a unit without any actual game experience, the young and revamped Cowboys secondary looks like it could be an improved unit in 2018.
Orlando Scandrick has apparently looked sharp thus far in training camp, and looks to back bounce after a down year. He should be healthy for the first time in two seasons, playing with an even bigger chip on his shoulder than usual.
Anthony Brown should build on an impressive rookie season, and prove to Cowboys nation that he’s no one year wonder. Brown managed the first pick on Dak Prescott to begin training camp. He should see an even bigger role in his second year.
But perhaps the most exciting news out of training camp is the play of a couple rookies– Chidobe Awuzie and Marquez White. According to David Helman of DallasCowboys.com, the two youngsters have been sharp thus far in coverage.
"“I’m about to state the obvious if you’ve been following along with our coverage, but this new-look secondary has had an impressive start to camp,” wrote Helman on the team’s official website. “We knew going in that all eyes were going to be on Chidobe Awuzie, the No. 60 overall pick in the draft. So far, he is delivering on the hype with a pair of interceptions and another pair of deflected passes in just two padded practices…Fellow rookie Marquez White is also off to a strong start, as he has looked physical and unafraid in one-on-one matchups as well as full-team repetitions.”"
The Cowboys are also expected contributions from rookie Jourdan Lewis, who was facing domestic violence charges and has yet to practice. He was found not guilty, and the third round pick should be a factor for the Cowboys going into the regular season.
Also, expect to see more takeaways from their starting safety duo of Jeff Heath and Byron Jones. Heath has apparently been studying the tape of elite safeties in the NFL, and hopes to improve in that area. Heath has shown a knack for playmaking in his limited snaps thus far, but should become more consistent in that department with a full-time starting role.
As for Jones, he’s been working hard in the turnover-department as well. He’s also doing it in some pretty non-traditional ways, including fielding fly balls in the outfield with the Texas Ranger’s AA affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders.
Despite the mass turnover, If everything comes together in Dallas, they could have one of, if not the best secondaries they’ve had in years. It’s only the second week of training camp, but expectations are sky high.
September 10th can’t come soon enough.