Woods down season as Cowboys safety requires evaluation beyond just his play

One area the Dallas Cowboys must center their attention on this offseason is the safety position. The team allowed the third-most passing touchdowns per game and ranked in the bottom 10 when it comes to passing yards attempted.

One player who will be heavily spotlighted is safety Xavier Woods. Woods is set to hit the free-agent market and Dallas must make a decision on whether to try and bring bak their three-year starting safety. DallasCowboys.com writer Nick Eatman breaks down Woods impact at the safety position.

Last year, Woods was ranked 56th among all safeties by the website ProFootballFocus.com, which does an intense grading scale on every player at every position. However, for some clarity, Seattle’s Jamal Adams, a player the Cowboys nearly traded for back in the offseason when he was with the Jets, ranked 53rd on the PFF list.

The problem is not that Woods is a bad player, the complication is that the team has not seen the progress they would’ve liked. During the 2019 season, Wood recorded two interceptions to go with 77 combined tackles and 52 solo hits. Fast forward to this season and things have remained staggered. The 2020 campaign was mediocre at best, as Woods recorded zero interceptions, 72 combined tackles and 48 solo tackles.

Eatman went on to outline Wood’s struggles and his impact on the team.

Aside from no interceptions, Woods didn’t record a single forced fumble or fumble recovery and had just two pass deflections.

He did have a career-high 86 tackles, good for second on the team, but the Cowboys simply needed more plays out of Woods, especially if they are considering re-signing him next year.

Woods was drafted during the sixth round in the 2017 NFL Draft. While his draft status matches his production, players like Donovan Wilson have begun to emerge within the position.

Further complicating an evaluation are the coaching issues Dallas encountered. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan implemented a new scheme that didn’t appear to do any players any favors. He also brought in Mo Linguist as a secondary coach, his first job at the NFL level. Woods was shifted to the strong safety position as his primary role, but shuffled back and forth, further complicating an evaluation of whether his regression was something that can be fixed in 2021. That’s something for new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to review in film study.

Story continues

Free agency begins March 17 and the assumption is Woods will test the market.

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Published: 2021-02-16 13:53:19

Tags: #Woods #season #Cowboys #safety #requires #evaluation #play

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