Cowboys position preview: Can defensive backs like Byron Jones, Xavier Woods create more turnovers in 2019? - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
Hairopoulos does a great job previewing the defensive backfield in Dallas, asking the question on everybody’s mind: can the unit create turnovers?
Byron Jones earned the first Pro Bowl honor of his career, leading the team with 14 passes defended. Chidobe Awuzie established himself as the other starting cornerback, with Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath locking up the safety positions in the aggressive, disruptive style of first-year secondary coach Kris Richard. While solid as a unit, the secondary continued to struggle to produce turnovers. Woods tied for the team lead with two interceptions, with Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis and Heath all coming up with one a piece. Jones didn’t record an INT.
The Cowboys want to make more plays on the ball. Will the breakthrough finally come this season? The secondary should only be more comfortable in the second year of Richard’s system and with a loaded defensive line up front to aid their work in coverage.
Woods is a name that many expect to take the next step in the Cowboys secondary. Is this the year that he breaks out?
The staff over at DallasCowboys.com discussed who they thought could be an emerging star for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019.
Surprisingly, none of them mentioned Xavier Woods.
Along with Byron Jones and Anthony Brown, Xavier Woods helped to solidify the Dallas Cowboys secondary that helped the team become one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2018. Woods became a physical playmaking free safety for the team last year and gave the front office and coaching staff enough reason to not make a significant upgrade at the position.
Per Pro Football Focus, among safeties that played at least 352 snaps in coverage, Xavier Woods finished tied for sixth in the NFL with a passer rating allowed of 62.8. He was seventh in the NFL among safeties in yards allowed per coverage snap, 10th in snaps per target, and 12th in snaps per reception allowed at 31.1. Woods allowed the 12th fewest receptions and the seventh-fewest yards in the NFL among safeties. He tied for the team lead with two interceptions on the season to go along with his nine pass deflections, which finished third on the team.
Ezekiel Elliott’s legal team responds to charges being pressed in Las Vegas, accuses security guard of extortion - John Breech, CBS Sports
In case you missed it, the security guard in Vegas is pressing charges on Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke and his team have responded.
The charges were filed by Kyle Johnson, who was allegedly shoved into a guardrail by Elliott back in May. According to Elliott’s attorneys, Scott Rosenblum and Jason Lampert, the charges have no merit and Johnson is simply trying to extort the Cowboys’ star.
”Over the course of the past several weeks, Mr. Elliott has been the target of extortion,” Elliott’s legal team said in a statement. “Kyle Johnson’s filing of a criminal complaint against Mr. Elliott in connection with the Las Vegas incident is the latest attempt to do so. Mr. Elliott and his team are in contact with all of the proper authorities and are fully cooperating with them in their investigations.”
With accusations now being thrown around on both sides, there’s a good chance this case is still going to be hanging over Elliott’s when the Cowboys report for training camp on July 26. Although Johnson has pressed charges against Elliott, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys running back is any trouble just yet. The case will have to be investigated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who will then decide whether or not Elliott should be officially charged with a crime.
Matt breaks down the running backs in Dallas, looking at the talent in the backfield.
With Dallas almost 100% keeping a fullback in Jamize Olawale, they almost certainly will only keep three running backs. Jackson will really have to show up big in training camp and the preseason if he wants to steal away a spot on the roster. Jordan Chunn also is a running back on the Cowboys roster, but at this current moment he is going to have an even harder time than Jackson finding a spot on the team.
If Dallas does decide to go with Elliott, Pollard, and Weber, they’ll have the bell cow runner in Elliott, the versatile speedster in Pollard, and a reliable three-down backup in Weber.
With the talent at the running back position, Dallas hopefully will be able to lessen the load Elliott needs to carry early in the season. If Pollard and Weber are able to preform well early in the year, the Cowboys can save Elliott’s legs a bit and keep him fresh down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs.
An argument for the offensive line in Dallas still being the ‘gold standard’ of the division.
We have already addressed the beast level evident within the starting five.
Beyond that amazing crew lies depth unparalleled within the entire NFL. While Frederick sat out all of 2018 with Guillian-Barre syndrome, Looney stepped in and handled business proving he is a more than capable starter. He is now relegated to inside swing status.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Dallas Cowboys selected McGovern in the third round of the 2019 draft. On almost any other team, he would be instantly plugged in as a starter, either at guard or right tackle.
In Dallas, he sits an entire year and likely never sees the field.
The starting five is one of the best within the league. The backups are formidable. Needless to say, this unit can be put up against any other and hold their own. As previously stated, this group walks directly to the front of the line to accept their gold medal.
On the flip side of the line of scrimmage, a look at whether or not it is wise for Dallas to blitz more often.
Dallas Cowboys fans have been calling for a more aggressive approach for years. And the volume has only increased since notorious non blitzer, Rod Marinelli, came in to lead the defense. Kris Richard’s entry brought the hope more blitzing would be on the horizon, but the reality is he came to Dallas with a lower blitz rate than even Marinelli.
All of this explains why Dallas was never going to let DeMarcus Lawrence leave in free agency. And it also explains why they have invested so many picks in the pass-rush over the years. Getting the job done with the front four is vital to stopping opposing passing attacks.
Because good coverage is more directly related to winning than a good pass-rush. To sacrifice the former to aid in the latter, is nothing short of absurd. The Dallas Cowboys have known this all along. That’s why they they’re consistently in the bottom half of the NFL in their blitz rates.
What does the 2019 training camp have in store for the Cowboys second-year WR?
NBC 5 Sports Anchor Pat Doney and 105.3 The Fan’s Ben Rogers breakdown the upcoming Dallas Cowboys training camp and what we can expect as the players report to Oxnard California.