Monday, February 3, 2014
Cowboys corners need to be more physical
By Calvin Watkins
One of the more impressive things about Seattle's Super Bowl run is its 4-3 defense.
The Seahawks run the same scheme as the Cowboys but their secondary plays more physical. Strong safety Kam Chancellor, corners Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell are not only physical but play man coverage.
The trio makes plays on the ball.
They combined for 43 pass breakups and 15 interceptions in 2013. And let's not forget safety Earl Thomas and his eight pass breakups and five interceptions combined with nickel corner Walter Thurmond and his six pass breakups.
As for the Cowboys, Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick and Barry Church combined for 32 pass breakups and six interceptions. Rookie safeties J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath combined for four pass breakups in 2013.
When the Cowboys move into the 2014 season, establishing a physical presence in the secondary, one that makes plays on the ball, is vital. Church led the team in tackles with 135 but there were too many missed tackles in the secondary, especially among the safeties.
The size of the Seahawks corners -- Sherman is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and Maxwell is 6-0, 207 pounds to go with Chancellor, a 6-3, 232 pounds safety -- also affects how well they play.
The Seahawks draft big corners in anticipation of covering taller receivers.
The Cowboys have problems covering taller and physical receivers.
Carr is 6-0 and 206 pounds and Scandrick is 5-10 and 195 pounds. Morris Claiborne, the slot corner, is 5-11 and 190 pounds.
It seems the health of Claiborne, who battled shoulder and hamstring injuries in 2013, is a major concern going forward. The Cowboys, who have many holes on defense, might want to get a big physical corner in the draft.
Drafting smaller corners from small schools such as B.W. Webb (William & Mary) doesn't help.
Getting taller corners in the draft this spring isn't going to be easy either. The top-ranked corner from Scouts Inc., is Oklahoma's Justin Gilbert who is 6-0 1/4 and 199 pounds. Five of the next six corners are under six-foot.
Regardless of how tall the corner or safeties are, the Cowboys need to find people who make plays and the group they had in 2013 didn't do enough of it.