Stop me if you have heard this before.
The Dallas Cowboys need help at the safety position.
In that regard, the 2014 offseason is no different from 2013, which was the same as 2012, which very much resembled 2011…ad nauseum.
Come to think of it, when was the last time the Cowboys had a safety tandem (or even an individual) that inspired confidence?
2009? Gerald Sensabaugh and Ken Hamlin? That was short-lived and only marginally serviceable. The year after, the tandem was Sensabaugh and Alan Ball.
Honestly, the last true playmaker the Cowboys had at the position was first rounder Roy Williams, who was a big hitter and capable of big plays, but was often exposed in coverage. Williams was a five-time Pro Bowler and made all-pro once.
However, the position once manned by one of the NFL’s all-time great duos—Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters—has, for most of this century been a source of discomfort and bone of contention for the Cowboys.
The safeties are the last line of defense. They are also, along with a disruptive pass rusher, the biggest play-makers and game-changers on the defense. Good safety play can free others to take more chances. A lineman can pin his ears back. A cornerback can jump a route. A linebacker can commit to a blitz. When a good safety has your back, you can do your job better.
I understand that you don’t find a Darren Woodson (to name the last truly GREAT safety on the team), a Cliff Harris, or even a Roy Williams under every rock. But in a decade, you would think you would find a way to shore up the position so that it is not one of your glaring needs every off-season.
In the past two drafts, the Cowboys have attempted (sort of) to address the need by drafting JJ Wilcox (3rd), BW Webb (4th) in 2013 and Matt Johnson (4th) in 2014. It may be premature, but it looks like three half-hearted swings and misses.
Back to the drawing board.
Just like last year.
Just like the year before.
Just like always.
In many conflicts, the adage is “there is safety in numbers.” In the NFL, there is safety in ability—the ability to identify and secure talent, the ability to coach that talent up, and the ability of the talent secured and coached to provide that last line of defense.
Coming off the worst defensive season in franchise history, it is safe to say the ability was lacking in just about every area for your Dallas Cowboys. Including, and maybe especially, the safety position.