Throughout the years, every great Cowboys receiver had a star cornerback lining up across from him on the practice field.
Drew Pearson and Everson Walls.
Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.
And Dez Bryant and Morris...well, never mind on that one.
One of these days, the Cowboys will once again have a new star wide receiver and a new star cornerback fighting it out in practice, competing hard, and making each other better. But is it possible that day is a lot closer than we think?
Last season, the team modernized their cornerback position - out with the old, and in with the new. And while it’s still early, all signs are pointing to it being a success. This year, the team renovated the wide receiver position. We have no idea how that’s going to go, but when the present is finally opened, we sure hope we like it. Both the defensive backs and wide receivers coaches have been replaced as Kris Richard and Sanjay Lal have joined the staff to help invigorate this new group of young players. And it hasn’t taken long for that competition to get the juice flowing.
Chidobe Awuzie is already impressing his new coach and some are predicting this to be a breakout season for the Cowboys second-year corner. In fact, we polled the BTB community last month and Chido was hands-down the favorite candidate to emerge in 2018.
Recently, Awuzie answered some questions on 105.3 The Fan’s Ben and Skin Show and he had this to say about what kind of changes he’s seen with his new coach:
Our technique, we’re playing sound technique, real good technique. And our attitude, no deep balls, competing for every ball. And every time we make a play we’re celebrating - I don’t know if that’s more Kris Richard or just our new DBs we have that are in position to start now. We’ve kind of been turning up a little bit on the offense. It’s real fun, we’re getting back to making football fun, making plays and flying around.
Injecting a little tenacity into the Cowboys cornerback group is long overdue as this group has struggled to create turnovers in recent years. The defense has done a good job winning the battles in training camp thus far, but are there any receivers giving Awuzie and company any trouble? He had this to say about his cross-state college rival and now teammate, Michael Gallup:
He’s the real deal. The stuff he’s doing now he wasn’t really doing when I faced him [in college; Awuzie went to Colorado, Gallup to Colorado State]. I think he put a lot of effort into his game. He’s a very cerebral guy. He knows how to get off the ball, not a lot of receivers know how to get off press consistently. He’s one of those guys that does. He’s definitely at high-pointing that ball and locating it in the air. That’s my young bull from Colorado. I’ve got a lot of respect for him just because of that. Then when he came on the field, he really proved himself to me already. I’m looking for him this year to earn his star, earn his respect and make some plays.
Both these Colorado kids are very smart players with all the right traits to be successful at their position. Gallup has a great ‘size and speed’ combo. Awuzie also has a great ‘size and speed’ combo. Gallup has sudden feet to create separation. Awuzie has twitchy feet to mirror his receiver. Gallup is a skilled route-runner. Awuzie is instinctive, with a good feel for route development.
Keep a close eye on these two as they battle it out in training camp. This could be the beginning of a strong, competitive relationship that could be around for years to come.