While free agency officially begins in March, roster turnover isn't too far away. The Cowboys will indeed add and presumably release players, along with letting some go without a new contract.
However, the majority of the 2018 roster is already in place. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they've been and where they're going.
Today, we continue the series with cornerback Anthony Brown.
Views of #30 Cornerback Anthony Brown from the 2017-18 Regular Season.
What's Been Good:
Brown had a terrific rookie season in 2016, emerging as a nine-game starter despite his sixth-round draft status. He impressed the Cowboys right away with his competitiveness – he picked off then-starter Tony Romo in the first week of practice – and showed versatility in the slot, a position he never played in high school or college. In 2017, he tied for the team lead with 11 pass breakups and finished behind only Jeff Heath with two interceptions. When Brown is playing confidently, he's among the most productive defensive backs on the roster.
What's Been Bad:
Brown lost his starting job after the Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day loss to the Chargers, where quarterback Philip Rivers posted a near-perfect 149.1 passer rating with 434 yards and 3 touchdowns. In those first 11 games, Brown led the Cowboys with 10 penalties (five defensive holding, five defensive pass interference). He didn't commit a penalty in the final five games, but his playing time dropped dramatically from 63 snaps per game to an average of 30 snaps in the final five.
Coaches want to see how players handle adversity, and Brown responded well after the Cowboys promoted rookie Chidobe Awuzie to the starting lineup. He intercepted Washington's Kirk Cousins the following week despite playing only 8 snaps. Then, with the Cowboys' season on the line at Oakland two weeks later, Brown forced a fumble on special teams and broke up three passes – though he did drop an easy interception against Derek Carr that kept the Raiders' final drive alive in an eventual Dallas victory.
It'll be interesting how new secondary coach Kris Richard decides to use Brown and the Cowboys' other young cornerbacks. After dealing with some disappointment in his second season, perhaps a new voice will help Brown continue to progress in Year 3. He's shown he can make plays on the ball, and he can line up outside or in the slot.
- Much like Maliek Collins, I was expecting big things from Brown coming off his rookie season.
- The front office made the move to part ways with veteran players at the position to pave the way for him to receiving more playing time.
- He didn't have the type of year that I expected from an overall performance aspect.
- Would say that he lost his aggressive edge in coverage along with his ability to finish as a tackler.
- He just wasn't that same competitive player we had seen before.
- Won the starting job then lost it after the Chargers game where the entire secondary was a disaster.
- Did play better in sub-package roles coming off the bench, but by that time it was too late.
- Will once again be in a battle with other talented players for a starting job but needs to regain that edge he once had.
- No question that he has the talent, but must once again put it all together for a new secondary coach.