Anthony Brown is the veteran presence among the Cowboys corners.
Six years later, the roles have reversed. “I definitely want to be a big brother to all the guys,” Brown said. “I want them to look to me if they have any questions, if they have any concerns they want to talk about.”
Just last week during OTAs Trevon Diggs used those exact words when he said that Brown was like a “big brother” to him. “He’s a really good influence on my career,” Diggs said of Brown.
Brown’s leadership isn’t unearned. Nothing has been easy for him. As a late-round pick, he has entered just about every season of his career considered to provide depth, rarely talked about as a key piece to the defense. Last season was particularly hard for Brown, physically. He revealed on Tuesday that last season he suffered five fractured ribs at the end of a Week 2 practice in which a player’s cleat went directly into his ribs. The incident actually resulted in a punctured lung that made breathing difficult for Brown. He fractured a few more ribs in a game a few weeks later when he thought the injury was fully healed.
Still, despite painful injuries, Brown did in 2020 what he’s done his entire career: Step in when he’s needed and make plays. He recorded two interceptions in 10 games played and eight starts. Now, Brown says he is fully recovered from his rib injury, and his mobility and understanding of the game are better than ever. He also stated that new defensive coordinator Dan Qunin’s game plan has been “much clearer than last year.”
Brown’s mentee, Diggs, will be a presumed starter, but who starts opposite Diggs won’t be determined until training camp. Perhaps it will be Brown or perhaps rookie second-round pick Kelvin Joseph will be ready to start. Either way, Brown will be ready. “My mindset is to make everybody better around me and do my job at the same time.
All eyes will be on the Cowboys secondary this season.
Dallas did re-sign another 2017 draftee, Jourdan Lewis, to go with returning players Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown as a potential CB nucleus. But recognizing that more was needed, Dallas added two more corners in Day 2 of the 2021 Draft with Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright.
2021 Offseason Movement at CB
ArrivalsKelvin Joseph (R)
Nahshon Wright (R)
Joseph and Wright’s arrivals make this a very interesting group to watch in camp and preseason. We’re already fairly convinced that Diggs, last year’s 2nd-rounder, has the makings of an exceptional NFL cornerback. And Lewis and Brown, while never great, have had their moments.
Joseph scouts a lot like Awuzie; a zone CB who isn’t afraid to tackle but struggles in man. We’d love him to hit the ground running and immediately contribute as a top-three corner, but at least Brown and Lewis are here to provide some insurance against rookie development.
Wright was one of the more surprising picks of the 2021 Draft, perceived as being a major reach for where Dallas took him, But if early indications mean anything, Nahshon has been a standout of the recent minicamps and will hopefully keep proving the scouts right once we get to Oxnard and beyond.
Trevon Diggs will play a big role in this team’s success on defense.
Cowboys need a big second season from Diggs
Just as they did with Diggs in 2020, the Cowboys selected a cornerback in the second round in 2021, bringing in Kelvin Joseph from Kentucky. With both Diggs and Joseph expected to start, the second-year corner will not only have to have an impact on the field but also off of it, as he showed Joseph the ropes at the NFL level.
The Cowboys focused big-time on the defensive side of the ball in the draft, bringing in Micah Parsons, a linebacker from Penn State in the first round, who was one of five defensive draft picks in 2021. Dallas has serious issues on defense last season, and will also benefit from having defensive coordinator Dan Quinn join the staff this season after a stint as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Bradlee Anae could develop into the exact pass rusher the Cowboys need - Justin A. Morris, BloggingTheBoys
The hope is the second-year player can finally get some serious playing time.
2020 was absolutely abysmal from a containment standpoint, and the squad’s passing wounds were made even saltier by their porous performance in the running game. The one consistent constant: DeMarcus Lawrence, who’s regarded by many as a top-10 (top five by some) pass rusher in the NFL. Lawrence has been causing QBs nightmares for quite a while now, but for the majority of his havoc-wreaking tenure, he’s been a solo soldier in his efforts.
Dallas has tried to provide their alpha tank with additional weaponry to help his cause. Robert Quinn collected 11.5 sacks in his singular year with Dallas before inking a massive five-year, $70-million contract with Chicago in 2020. Aldon Smith was excellent in his return to the league in his initial outings (which included a three-sack day against Russell Wilson) before a severe slowdown in production ended his Cowboys stint.
Then of course, there’s Randy Gregory, who, renowned for his rare physical attributes and skill, has not been able to stay on the field to show off those talents. Gregory is primed to make a monumental comeback in ‘21, but there’s another unheralded force on Dallas’ defensive line brigade who may provide an invaluable contribution to their defense next season.
Meet Bradlee Anae, the man who saw just six snaps under Mike Nolan’s helm last year, and yet still holds the potential to amply improve the overall group.
Anae slid to the fifth round of last year’s draft, but it wasn’t due to a lack of production in college. He was ranked lower than some of his peers in testing metrics, and his arms measured out at a lowly 32 1/8-inches. But his in-game endeavors were wondrous: he dominated the Pac-12, cementing himself as the highest-rated pass-rusher (20% win-rate in 2019) in the conference, and recording the most pressures by far in his last two years.
It’s hard to saying the coaching staff is a bigger red flag than the defense.
Dallas Cowboys: The Coaching Staff
The Dallas Cowboys fixed a couple of red flags in the offseason. They locked up quarterback Dak Prescott with a new long-term deal, and they added players like Keanu Neal, Jayron Kearse and rookie Micah Parsons to a defense that ranked 28th in scoring last season.
However, arguably Dallas’ biggest red flag entering the offseason remains: a coaching staff that lacked cohesion and direction in 2020.
Mike McCarthy was brought in as head coach because of his experience, but his first season at the helm was a disaster. Yes, injuries to Prescott and the offensive line hurt, but Dallas’ issues ran deep.
“They don’t teach. They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly,” one player said of the coaching staff, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater.
The Cowboys did replace defensive coordinator Mike Nolan with Dan Quinn this offseason, which may improve that side of the ball. McCarthy is still the one steering the proverbial ship, though, and it’s worth noting that he’s gone 17-26-1 in his last three years as a head coach.
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