On a team with aspirations to contend for a Super Bowl, this is without question the biggest concern for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys
In the salary cap era of the NFL, every team has an Achilles heal that they hope does not sink their season.
It’s impossible to build a team that has no holes. The goal, often times, is to cover for whatever your biggest weakness is, remain healthy and rely on your strengths.
For the Dallas Cowboys, we all know that the strength of this team is their running game. With three offensive linemen that are perennial Pro-Bowler’s, this scheme has been successful in two of the past three seasons.
To go along with a devastating run game, the Cowboys passing game is near an upper echelon level as well.
As always, however, when you have such a star-studded cast on side of the ball, the other side is usually not as strong. We all know that this team will go as far as the defense takes them. The concern though, the biggest concern, in fact, resides in the Dallas Cowboys secondary.
Over the course of the offseason Dallas made a conscious effort to remake the entire defensive backfield. Four long time veterans were allowed to move on to other teams. To replace them, the Cowboys drafted three cornerbacks and signed another veteran.
Unfortunately, two of the three draft picks have missed a large portion of camp and the preseason due to injuries. The veteran has been shaky and there are other issues along this unit as well.
Right now, with just 15 days before the season starts, I don’t believe this team has more than two starting caliber defensive backs. Orlando Scandrick and Byron Jones are capable and qualified to play significant snaps on a Super Bowl contender. Everyone else has a lot of catching up to do.
Maybe it was just one game, but Anthony Brown looked terrible against the Raiders last night. He has not had a stellar camp either and certainly has not shown any signs of progressing to the next level.
Nolan Carroll has had an up and down camp as well, mostly on the down side. A looming suspension for a DWI will also likely hurt his availability.
Jourdan Lewis has about three NFL practices under his belt and is nursing a sore hamstring. He’s likely to go into Week One with no preseason game experience. Chidobe Awuzie got a chance to see the field in the first preseason game but has not since due to hamstring and ankle issues.
Jeff Heath is winning the other safety spot, pretty much by default as his possible challenger, rookie Xavier Woods, has missed multiple practices.
Unfortunately, the clock is ticking. While I’m sure Awuzie and Woods will be healthy in two weeks, they will have to learn on the fly. I’m not sure what you can realistically expect from Lewis either.
It’s beginning to look more and more as though the Cowboys may have to employ a back up plan. Will they shop for a player cut by some other team to add depth and/or experience? The next two weeks will go a long way towards answering that question.
For now, it’s hard to imagine a biggest concern for this team other than the talent and experience of their defensive backs. Hopefully the offense can buy them some time by scoring enough points to cover for them.
Every team has a weakness. Let’s just hope that this one for the Cowboys does not derail dreams of a deep postseason run.