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Safety first: Darian Thompson alleviates issues at safety, Xavier Woods could practice this week

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The Cowboys now have some options for the back-end of their defense.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

All offseason, safety has been on the mind of Cowboys fans. For a while, the name we heard over and over was Earl Thomas. The Cowboys didn’t make a trade for Thomas last season, and they did not sign him as a free agent. Then, the Cowboys passed on some promising prospects in the 2019 draft at safety. Instead, the Cowboys essentially stuck with Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and Kavon Frazier, while picking Donovan Wilson late in the draft, re-signing Darian Thompson and bringing in George Iloka.

Needless to say, this strategy was picked apart repeatedly and caused much consternation among the faithful. One phrase used over and over was “the team must like their safeties more than the fans.” Turns out, they might have had good reason to do so.

In the preseason, Donovan Wilson had a quality showing. His ability to get interceptions endeared him to the base. But an injury slowed his progress and sidelined him the first couple of weeks of the season. Another injury, this one to Xavier Woods in the second week, forced the Cowboys to go to their bench. They bypassed Wilson and Kavon Frazier, instead choosing Darian Thompson to fill in for Woods.

Thompson proved to be a good choice. The guys over at the mothership responded to a question about how Thompson played.

Bryan: He was far more physical than he had been at any point since he signed with the team. He never played this way on the film I studied. They knew he was smart but not that tough, and I think it surprised them.

Rob: You may not know that Thompson was a third-round draft pick by the Giants. Like wide receiver Devin Smith, he’s simply had injuries in his career. Thompson did a nice job on special teams last season when given the chance and he played well at safety against the Dolphins. Credit the front office again for finding talented players capable of making an impact when healthy.

Thompson had a standout play in the game.

The Cowboys might have found a nice piece in their safety arsenal. Now the question turns to how long will they need Thompson to fill in? That all depends on how long Xavier Woods has to sit out. Initially, Woods was thought to have a high ankle sprain that would keep him out up to four weeks or more. The Cowboys pushed back on that idea and started talking about him playing in a week or so.

This morning, Jerry Jones had this to say:

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the team will evaluate safety Xavier Woods (ankle) throughout the week in hopes he’ll be available against the Saints this Sunday.

“I don’t know, but I do know that we’re looking maybe to see him practice this week, which tells you all you need to know,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “We’ll see how that goes.”

It seems unlikely that if Woods actually has a high ankle sprain that he would be back so quickly. We’ll have to monitor his practice availability this week. But if he can’t go, at least Thompson has shown he has some skills to take over.