For most of the season, the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary has been their Achilles’ heel on defense. But this wasn’t unexpected.
The Cowboys revamped their secondary in the offseason, losing three starters to free agency and another key contributor in J.J. Wilcox. In hindsight, that one-year overhaul of the secondary might be the reason the team doesn’t make the playoffs this season. There were just too many games earlier in the season (Rams, Packers, etc) in which the secondary was just a little too inexperienced.
But last Thursday night, the Cowboys’ secondary wasn’t the problem. Instead, it was the reason they beat their bitter rival. Despite the offense sputtering in the first half, the defensive backs made play after play to stop Kirk Cousins and the Redskins’ offense. The defense was led by two unlikely heroes; Chidobe Awuzie and Kavon Frazier. In today’s film room, we will look at the performances of both and what their futures in Dallas look like.
Let’s start with Awuzie. When the Cowboys selected Awuzie in the second round of the draft, the plan wasn’t exactly clear as to how they were going to use him. He spent most of training camp swapping back and forth between cornerback and safety. In the Hall of Fame game, he played cornerback and faired well, but once the season began, Dallas initially used him as a safety.
But after the disappointing season by Anthony Brown, the Cowboys decided to make some changes in their secondary. With Awuzie finally healthy after nursing a hamstring injury for most of the season, the Cowboys decided to start Awuzie at cornerback against Washington. His play in that game might have been one of the most impressive individual performances of the season.