Cornerback Anthony Brown has received the wrath of Cowboys Nation in 2021. Since the offseason, talk about benching the sixth-year Dallas Cowboys cornerback has been constant. Now that we’re in the regular season, it hasn’t changed.
At one point in the offseason, the conversation even shifted toward the possibility of cutting Brown from the roster as Maurice Canady caught the attention of many with a strong performance in training camp. Unsurprisingly, though, the Cowboys kept Brown on the 53-man roster. After all, Dan Quinn’s defense is thin at cornerback and lacks clear better options to replace him.
With Week 1 officially in the books, fans are wondering if his status as a starter will change anytime soon. At least until second-round rookie Kelvin Joseph comes back, though, don’t expect that to happen.
The main thing to consider here is the reality of the Cowboys’ situation at cornerback. Beyond Trevon Diggs – who put on an elite performance versus Mike Evans in Week 1 – it is not a deep unit.
Sure, the Cowboys have Maurice Canady and Nahshon Wright and both might deserve a shot at actually playing. Canady played only two defensive snaps while the third-round rookie got none. The thing is that fans are asking for them to play because the mindset has become “it can’t be worse than starting Anthony Brown.”
Unfortunately, it probably can. Keep in mind the Cowboys faced arguably the best receiving corps in the NFL last week. Even within the same team, Jourdan Lewis received a worse coverage grade than Brown while playing in the slot.
I’m not trying to defend Anthony Brown here, but I’m also not overly confident of playing cornerbacks who could be worse for the defense just because we haven’t seen them play. The coaching staff has, week in and week out in practice.
Keep in mind, Canady’s best play has come as a nickel CB. Wright is a player we could be excited about, but it feels like it’s too early to expect strong play from him. He had some strong moments in the preseason but also had some pretty rough drives.
Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn defended Brown on one of the many plays the Dallas Cowboys defense got burned. The cornerback was supposed to get safety help and he played his assignment correctly, per Quinn.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn said on this TD to Antonio Brown, Cowboys CB Anthony Brown played the route correctly. He was supposed to have safety help over the top, but a defender tripped and the safety helped elsewhere.
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 13, 2021
The above play is not the only time #30 looked bad versus Tampa Bay. However, it might be his most criticized moment in it, and what Quinn is saying makes perfect sense when watching the tape.
When it comes down to it, Anthony Brown is a below-average outside CB in the NFL and as such not starting material. But the Dallas Cowboys don’t have someone to step up and take his job as CB2.
The good news is Kelvin Joseph is eligible to return in Week 4. While Joseph still has a long way to go, he’s a more NFL-ready prospect that could actually compete for a starting role as soon as he gets back to practice. Even when he does, though, he will have to make up for a lot of missed practice time during the offseason and late in hte preseason.
Featured image via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports