Cowboys Advised to Bench Star Veteran After Disappointing Start to 2022 Season

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy responds during practice.

The Dallas Cowboys can feel positive after a 2-1 start to the 2022 season, but one starter is facing major criticism just three games in.

While the offense did enough against the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants for the team’s two wins, the defense has been a major factor: the Cowboys have allowed just 17.3 points per game, and that’s kept the team within striking distance in each contest.

However, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine is calling on the Cowboys to bench corner Anthony Brown. Brown is labeled as the weak link in the team’s secondary.

“There’s a lot to like about the Dallas Cowboys defense,” Ballentine wrote. “Micah Parsons is one of the elite pass-rushers in the league. Trevon Diggs is an absolute ball hawk. However, Anthony Brown does not make the list. Through three weeks, Brown is the most-targeted defender in the Cowboys’ secondary. Opposing quarterbacks have tried him 19 times compared to Diggs’ 14, and they are having plenty of success. He’s given up 160 yards and a passer rating of 111.7.”

The numbers certainly don’t do Brown any favors, but Dallas has invested in the corner for half a decade and saw a great return for their efforts in 2021.

Brown Coming Off Strong 2021 Season

Cowboys fans have seen Brown play many different roles for the team since he was drafted by Dallas in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. He has started on the outside, spent time as the nickel corner, and also contributed in a pure backup role.

However, Pro Football Reference shows that Brown had his best season yet in 2021. The 28-year-old started 16 of 17 games, registering 17 passes defended and bringing down three interceptions, with one being a pick-six. He also set personal bests for combined and solo tackles.

While those are positive stats, Ballentine did mention that Brown was far from perfect in 2021. Brown gave up 836 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his 122 targets.

Brown isn’t expected to be a No. 1 corner for the Cowboys, but he does need to execute as a veteran starter. Trevon Diggs can make big plays, but having another strong presence at corner is crucial to the Cowboys’ defensive success.

Checking In on Cowboys’ Secondary

With only total passing yards given up in the team’s first three games, Dallas has done a solid job of limiting passers like Bengals QB Joe Burrow and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.

However, the advanced stats show that the “feast or famine” style of play is following the secondary from 2021. Brown, Diggs and Jourdan Lewis have all made big plays, but all three have given up big plays too.

Lewis has the fewest yards allowed with 131, while Diggs follows with 142. Brown rounds out the trio, giving up 189 receiving yards in the first three weeks. Lewis does have an edge on the other two corners, as Diggs and Brown have given up a touchdown but Lewis has not.

Overall, it’s been a solid start for the defense, but there are clear areas to improve. If Brown doesn’t turn it around, Ballentine’s call for him to be benched by the Cowboys could end up becoming a reality.

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