It didn’t take long for Kris Richard to see that Byron Jones was a cornerback when he joined the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff last offseason. He knows defensive backs, and he saw a cornerback.
This was a big topic as we prepared for the 2018 season because Byron had played mostly safety since some time at corner his rookie year (2015). Dallas viewed him best there, and while he showed some interesting flashes, he was average at best in the back of the secondary.
We’re only through the third week of the season, but the jury is on their way back with the verdict on Jones. He’s not just a good cornerback, he’s one of the best across the entire National Football League.
Byron Jones has been the best cornerback in the NFL through three weeks. pic.twitter.com/UFUEiJbfjJ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 26, 2018
First of all, how about a round of applause for Jones? During his first full-time year at cornerback he’s having serious levels of success and that’s a landmark achievement. His athleticism has never been a secret so it’s easy to understand how he would do well in a spot where he could showcase it.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, what does it say about the Cowboys previous secondary coaches that Kris Richard’s immediate instinct in putting Byron at cornerback basically instantly yielded success? They were sitting at The Star trying to shove a square peg into a round hole, and Kris Richard picked up the peg and said “oh hey guys, there’s a square peg over here.”
It’s hard not to wonder if this same stunted philosophy exists across the coaching staff as a whole, especially at a time when the offense is struggling so mightily. If Kris Richard can come in and use what they’ve got more efficiently and achieve greater results, is it not fair to say that the same could be true of the offense and the players on that side of the ball?
Byron Jones being graded as the NFL’s best cornerback through three weeks is fantastic news; however, it does bring to light that the Cowboys viewed him as a safety until a new face showed up. Should there be more new faces soon to perhaps save everyone else? That question isn’t going away any time soon.