It has never been a question of could Jourdan Lewis play but rather he would be given the opportunity to consistently show it. When he entered the NFL in 2017 as the 92nd overall pick in the third round, the Dallas Cowboys got one of the most talent corners coming out of college.
He came out guns blazing as a rookie appearing in 15 games with seven starts. He would total 54 tackles, 10 passes defended, and an interception. However, in January of 2018, the Cowboys hired Kris Richard as the team’s Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach. Richard is infamous for molding the “Legion of Boom” in Seattle with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor. He likes taller/long defensive backs, and at 5’10 195 pounds, Lewis got lost in the shuffle.
In 2018, Lewis appeared in 15 games again but it was in a very limited fashion. He only managed 12 tackles, two forced fumbles, one pass defended, and an interception.
When the 2019 season began, Lewis was fourth on the depth chart behind All-Pro Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown. However, in November Lewis would get another shot to show how effective he can be in the secondary. The aforementioned Brown suffered a torn triceps muscle in a Week 11 win vs the Detroit Lions that sidelined him for the season. Lewis responded by starting four of the final six games and he made them all count, so much so that he replaced Awuzie in Week 16 vs the Philadelphia Eagles, which also led to him starting in the season finale vs the Washington Redskins.
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With Jones and Brown both headed toward free agency, and the regression of Awuzie, Lewis could see a bigger role in 2020. If Jones goes elsewhere, he could become the team’s number one corner. If he stays, he’ll likely be the number two corner opposite Jones and push Awuzie to the third corner.
New Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan now has the task of rebuilding the Cowboys defense back to one of the league’s best like they were in 2018. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Nolan is focused on getting the best players on the field for this revamped defense:
“It is really just a personnel decision to get your best 11 on the field,” Nolan said. “Outside of that, it’s just spacing between the 11 players you have.”
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 6, 2019
Also, he stated that he wants to have a ‘swarming’ type of defense in 2020:
“You want it to look like a swarming type of mentality,” Nolan said. “I believe there are parts of coaching that goes into that. The things you do with players, the way you teach your players, everything from the language to the scheme, I think, are all critical factors in making it look just like that.”
If that’s truly what he wants, then Lewis should be a major contributor for the Cowboys defense going forward.
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