The Cowboys have to sort out their cornerback issues in free agency to prepare for the draft.
Let’s focus on Awuzie and Lewis. They only played seven games together in 2020 due to injuries and Awuzie’s one-game stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Overall, the Cowboys ranked 11th in pass defense, allowing 227.6 yards per game. The secondary gave up at least one explosive pass play touchdown in 10 of 16 games, but run defense was the biggest issue in 2020. The Cowboys ranked last against the run and yielded the second-most rushing yards in franchise history (2,541).
It was a challenging year for Awuzie. He hurt his hamstring on special teams in Week 2 against Atlanta and spent the next seven games on Reserve/Injured. Despite only seven appearances, he tied for second on defense with five pass breakups.
Lewis was arguably the most productive cornerback down the stretch in a variety of roles, playing in the box as well as his primary work in the slot. Lewis tied Jaylon Smith for the second-most tackles for loss (five), trailing only DeMarcus Lawrence (seven). He had two sacks in blitzing situations. And he even pitched in at safety for several snaps in a 37-17 December win over the Eagles.
There is cornerback talent at the top of the draft – the Cowboys have the 10th overall pick – but it’s too early to rule out Awuzie and/or Lewis returning. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will evaluate the roster and obviously have a strong voice in personnel decisions on that side of the ball. Anthony Brown and rookie Trevon Diggs are under contract, as is Maurice Canady, who spent the season on the Reserve/Opt-Out list. But corner depth is critical in today’s NFL.
Emmitt Smith on if we’ve seen the best of Ezekiel Elliott, how Mike McCarthy can right the ship with the Cowboys and more - Staff, DMN
One of the Cowboys great running backs sounds off on the current running back, and the defense.
Have we seen the best of Ezekiel Elliott?
Smith: “I don’t think you have. I think with Ezekiel Elliott, many people forget that Zeke had COVID-19 before the season even got started. And no one knows what COVID-19 will do to your body until you go through it. If you look at his body and play through the first five-six weeks of the season, his body structure, his weight looked a little bit different than the latter part of the season. Physically you just look at him, he looks a lot leaner in the latter part of the season than he did in the first part of the season. Now in the first part of the season, obviously he had some fumbling issues. Granted, they get paid on the other side of the ball like we do, not to make any excuses, but I do believe that Zeke will be better for what he had gone through this year. And he will be prepared and probably start to take care of himself differently for what he has gone through this year. And I think with Tony Pollard, there’s a great one-two punch.
On the Cowboys’ defensive issues...
Smith: “The Cowboys themselves, we have the same challenges that the University of Florida has. Defense. Defense. We couldn’t stop a soul. We couldn’t get off the field on third down. And I understand early in the season when we turn the ball over the defense is out there quite a bit, now I understand that piece. But still, our defense was so much more solid last year and I think that’s a product of the defensive change versus the players. I think you’ve got players that are not ‘suited’ quite nicely for this style of defense. So when you bring in new coordinators, do your players actually fit your style? And do your players actually understand your style and understand your defense totally? And are they doing, do they have the discipline to make the fits work? And I saw our defense create more issues, running out of zones and creating bigger zones for guys to run the ball with. That’s a problem. And that has to get corrected this offseason.
Troy Aikman Speaks on Cowboys QB Situation, State of the Organization - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star
Troy Aikman thinks Dak will be in Dallas.
When it comes to the quarterback position of America’s Team, there’s no man better qualified to talk about it than Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who played his entire twelve-year career with the Cowboys and brought three Super Bowl titles to the organization in the 90s. He recently spoke about if he thought the Cowboys would dip their toes in the quarterback pool this offseason and move on from Prescott.
“Well, I wouldn’t rule anything past Jerry. I say that as a compliment. I think he’s always trying to figure out what they can do or how he might be able to do something that will give them a chance. But I don’t see Dak not playing in Dallas… Going back to what we were talking about with Brady and Tampa Bay, it just reiterates the importance of that position,” Aikman said on The Musers on 96.7 FM/1310 AM The Ticket.
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said a new deal for Prescott was imminent after the team started 3-0 in 2019 which was fueled by the former fourth-round pick throwing for over 900 yards and nine touchdowns. No such deal ever materialized that season, however, Prescott had a career year. He nearly set a franchise record with 4,902 passing yards and threw for 30 scores, which included Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each going over the 1,100 yards mark.
That type of performance had many thinking a deal would surely get done in the offseason, but once again, Prescott was put in a position to have to prove himself after being franchise-tagged for $31.4 million last June.
Unsung hero? This guy was pretty “sung” in Dallas this year.
Dallas Cowboys CeeDee Lamb
Lamb put together quite a rookie season, which becomes especially clear when one considers his quarterbacks. The first-year receiver finished with 74 receptions for 935 yards and five scores, gaining 12.6 yards per catch while also accounting for just 18 percent of Dallas’ target share. He did this while catching passes from Dak Prescott, Ben DiNucci, Garrett Gilbert and Andy Dalton as part of an offense that found itself frequently forced to throw its way back into games thanks to a porous defense. No task seemed too great for Lamb, though, who largely made his impact out of the slot, catching 63 passes for 784 yards and four TDs from that alignment, good for the fourth-most receptions, second-most yards and tied for the ninth-most touchdowns in the league. The sky is the limit for this kid, and he won’t be an unsung hero for long.
A remembrance of Tom Landry’s wife Alicia after her recent death.
Alicia Landry, wife of late Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, passed away this past Friday at the age of 91.
She was the quintessential coach’s wife, the two meeting at the University of Texas and married in 1940, and remaining married until Tom Landry passed away on Feb. 12, 2000, at the age of 75.
This in her obituary says it best: Alicia was never far from her Tommy’s side. He considered her his greatest asset. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a style and wit that could light up a room. She was creative and smart, designing the house that would become their family home for 20 years as they raised their 3 children Tom, Kitty and Lisa.
Alicia would attend 29 years of Cowboys games, home and away. Remember the time in the late 1980s at RFK Stadium when Alicia and Tex Schramm’s wife Marty arrived at the elevator to the press box/suite level at the same time I did. Alicia invited me to join them on a cramped elevator.
But before the door slid shut, a Washington official, in a huff, stopped the elevator and frantically ordered us all off because “Mr. Cooke is coming, Mr. Cooke is coming.”
We dutifully exited, and when Washington owner Jack Kent Cooke recognized the first ladies of the Cowboys, he graciously stepped back, saying “No, no, take those folks up first.”
These are funs stories to read, and brief, a good way to pass some time.
SUPER BOWL VI
1971: DALLAS COWBOYS
Lee Roy Jordan, LB ”My wife OK’d it for me to wear that on my left hand instead of wearing my wedding band,” Jordan said of the ring he earned after the 1971 season. “I dislocated my right ring finger so many times I couldn’t get it on that finger. I convinced her that I needed to be wearing it. She must’ve felt like the marriage was going to work and she said OK.” Jordan and his wife, Mary, have been married for 55 years.
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