With the safety of All-Pro Jamal Adams wanting to leave New York and his proclaimed desire to play for the Dallas Cowboys, commercial rumors are circulating around the world as fans wonder what could be.
Some names have emerged as potential trading options. Fans aren’t ready to part with a rising star receiver like Michael Gallup, as he’s only halfway through his rookie contract. It is even more ridiculous to consider abandoning right tackle La’el Collins (although we have looked at it carefully) and disrupting their offensive line. For a team looking to add a missing piece to a championship course, the last thing they want to do is start removing pieces.
If Adams is to come to Dallas, it must be for the draft picks, and even that is not entirely desirable given the quality of Cowboys writing lately. All of these different options come at a cost, but hey – that’s the nature of the beast. To get something, you have to give up something.
But there may be another option all together – hang out with the guys you have.
For those annoyed by the repeated mantra of “we love our guys” from Stephen Jones as he eludes questions about how the team is not investing more in the safety position, this option is not not so attractive.
Over the years, the team has had players like Gerald Sensabaugh, Barry Church, JJ Wilcox and recently deceased Jeff Heath keep the fort safe. Very little money / spending capital was spent on the position and some of these guys are even undrafted free agents, or left Dallas when it was time for them to get paid. On paper, the team did very little to address this group of positions.
But on the ground, the group has indeed behaved decently, at least recently. If you look back over the past ten years, the team has shown a downward trend in total passing yards allowed, including a respectable top 12 ranking in each of the past three seasons.
It’s a good place to start, but looking at 2015 and 2016 – it just doesn’t pass the eye test. These volumes are influenced by the opportunities (or lack thereof) of the offense and do not indicate the actual effectiveness of the defense against assists. A specific examination of yards by attempted pass gives a better idea of the performance of the real unit.
These data make more sense. The downward trench is still there as the Cowboys have been in the top 8 in two of the past three seasons and have finished in the top half of each of the past four.
Now this is just a statistic. Clearly, much of a team’s defense against assists goes beyond the safety position. It should be noted that this unit has not received much negative press recently. They may not be revolutionary playmakers, but they hold their heads above water. Jamal Adams is a revolutionary playmaker. Trading for a player like Adams would be a huge improvement in position.
But what if we tell you that the Cowboys already have a top five security duo? At least that’s what Pro Football Focus thinks, which recently ranked the best safety duo in the league. And guess which couple sneaks into the top five …
5. HA HA CLINTON-DIX & XAVIER WOODS, DALLAS COWBOYS
Clinton-Dix and Woods have both had top 20 scores in the past two seasons, totaling 34 turnovers in their brief NFL careers.
Both have proven to be more than effective when included in a men’s coverage program. In the past two years, Clinton-Dix has obtained the second highest coverage coverage for men (87.8) among the 31 eligible securities during this period, while Woods (70.2) 17th. Together, they only authorized 19 receptions from 31 targets on the human cover, giving only 151 yards and a touchdown while leaving with six interceptions combined.
Clinton-Dix’s recent production has been somewhat overshadowed by its frequent moves and the absence of long-term contracts. But with a rank of second man cover (88.6) while aligned in the box and a rank of 10th race defense (79.7) when aligned as a defender of slot machines, Clinton-Dix has proven to be as versatile as any security in the game.
Is this duo really worthy of the top 5?
The Cowboys continued to look for cheaper ways to maintain the security position, and they did a pretty decent job. The Clinton-Dix and Woods team could be the best group of starters they have had in a while. Is PFF on something, or do you think they are too generous in their ranking? Let us know in the comments.