Secondary Still Leaves Questions For Cowboys

Jordan HofeditzAnalyst IMay 7, 2009

IRVING, TX - MAY 01:  Cornerback Mike Mickens #33 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball during rookie mini camp on May 1, 2009 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Cowboys' trade for Roy Williams left Dallas without a first round pick in this year's NFL Draft. With the departure of Terrell Owens this off-season, the Cowboys essentially got a first round receiver in Williams.

With the departure of the other Roy Williams, Anthony Henry, and Adam "Pacman" Jones the Dallas secondary is left with holes and inexperience. The Cowboys still have Terence Newman, Ken Hamlin, and Pat Watkins with experience, but none are players that really scare a quarterback.

In the draft Dallas looked to the secondary as an area to fill. Mike Mickens, Michael Hamlin, and DeAngelo Smith were the players the Cowboys' ownership and decision makers chose to fill those holes. But the growing pains seen by Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, and Courtney Brown last season makes you think that Mickens, M. Hamlin, and Smith wont make much of an impact in 2009.

This means rather than seeing an old and injured Williams get burned, it will be a young player that doesn’t know any better. While this might lead to a better mindset for Cowboys' fans, it leads to the same end results—big games for opposing quarterbacks.

In the fetal win against Tampa Bay with Brad Johnson leading the Cowboys, Tampa Bay’s Jeff Garcia threw for 227 yards, Aaron Rodgers threw for 290 yards, and Carson Palmer threw for 217 yards against the Cowboys’ defense. The strange thing is, all of those led to Dallas' victories.

It wasn’t always the big game from a quarterback that led to Dallas’ demise, it was giving up the big play at the wrong time.

Against Baltimore the Cowboys gave up back-to-back 70-yard plus running plays. No it wasn’t being beat in coverage, but it was a lack of ability for the secondary to make an open field tackle that allowed the Ravens’ backs to reach the end zone.

The backup quarterback is Jon Kitna, the running backs are set, the wide receivers and tight ends are ready to catch the ball, and the defensive line and linebackers remained mostly intact (if Bobby Carpenter could be a factor they would be set), but it is the secondary that is what to watch this season.

It could still be the late season play of Tony Romo that keeps the Cowboys out of the playoffs or give them an early round exit, but the secondary will get the assist.