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Playing it safe(ty)

Last year there was plenty of speculation that the Cowboys were thinking Anthony Henry would be a better option at FS instead of CB. That never came to pass and the excellent play of Ken Hamlin and the relative lack of depth at corner that was exposed during the regular season made sure that transition never happened. But very quietly this year, the Cowboys are toying with the option of using Henry as a pseudo-safety in certain defensive packages. I referenced this yesterday in a post and today there is some more coverage in the local press.

Henry said one specific package has him playing in a "dime backer" role, a position that Roy Williams played some last season. Henry said that package would also allow the Cowboys to play Newman, Pacman Jones and [Mike] Jenkins at the same time.

Wade Phillips is no stranger to cooking up defensive packages that get the best talent on the field at the same time. Witness last year’s formation where DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer were all on the field in some obvious passing situations.

The Cowboys are in a different position this year in terms of cornerback depth. The addition of Pacman Jones and first-round draft pick Mike Jenkins (and fifth-rounder Orlando Scandrick) gives Dallas some potential options to move Henry around. Here’s the kicker, Henry is not adverse to becoming a full-time safety. While Henry said he doesn't anticipate making a full-time switch to safety this year, he did admit he would like to make the switch at some point in his career.

"Yeah, I look forward to playing it," Henry said. "I'm not sure what's going to happen here. At some point, I want to do it because I want to further my career and I know I can play it well. I'm not saying that right now is the time, but if it was, I wish they would just do it now so I can focus on it and get ready for the season."

You can read more about this potential development on defense here and here.

"I understand it," Henry said. "Terence [Newman] got paid, they draft a corner in the first round and bring in Pacman. It does affect me. All I can do is play my best and try to be successful and let things fall where they fall."

Wow, contrast that attitude to Greg Ellis’ attitude. Kudos to Henry for understanding it’s about the team and not specifically him.

While we’re talking about safeties, here’s a little nugget from the Star-T article on Ken Hamlin.

A source said the Cowboys want to and expect to sign Hamlin before the start of the team's training camp in July. There is no indication, however, if the team will complete a deal with Hamlin before the start of the veteran minicamp next week.


As I was reading articles about the Cowboys in the past 24 hours it became obvious that two storylines are developing. One is that the Cowboys have one of the most talented rosters in football right now. This article speculates that the Cowboys are the best team in football right now and should be favored for the Super Bowl. 

I’m allowed to believe what I want to believe right now. And what I believe is that the best team in football is the Dallas Cowboys.

 Also professing some Cowboys love is John Czarnacki. 

But what the NFL really knows is that the Cowboys are loaded with talent. They had the best talent in the NFC last year, too, only to choke in December and January. Jerry hasn't won a playoff game in 11 years, but with Pacman on his roster the Cowboys will have four talented cornerbacks, enough to shut down any offense. They actually need him to make a Super Bowl run.

All that sounds good. But on the flip side is the worry that all this talent comes with some out-sized egos and some prickly personalities. I find some of that to be relying on past conventional wisdom like constantly referencing T.O. as someone who could cause problems etc. But the shots taken at Roy Williams, Greg Ellis’ annual whine, Terry Glenn being forced to sign a new contract and the ever-present Pacman Jones situation does lead to team chemistry questions. That storyline is covered here and here

It’s all on paper right now but the Cowboys have as good a roster as anybody in the league and have shown they can compete with the big boys.

The one thing they haven’t shown is the ability to win in December/January. With this much talent they have no excuses. They need to go deep into the playoffs this year or something is seriously wrong at Valley Ranch. And rightly or wrongly, failure in this area will be laid directly on the doorstep of Wade Phillips.


Along with the big news that Pacman has been partially reinstated and is participating in practices, comes the newest instance of man-on-man love in the NFL - in a strictly platonic sense, of course. Deion Sanders and Pacman Jones are developing a stronger relationship than Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson. Read all about it here and here.


Want to do some quick, fun reading? Here’s a debate over the better QB: Troy Aikman vs. John Elway. Your thoughts?

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