The good news for Byron Jones is the league didn’t fine him for an unnecessary roughness penalty he had against the Chargers last week. The bad news for Jones is the former first-round pick is seeing his play time diminish.
The Cowboys made changes in their secondary for Thursday’s game against Washington. They benched cornerback Anthony Brown, replacing him with rookie Chidobe Awuzie, who had three tackles and three pass breakups and didn’t allow a reception against him. Brown’s only playing time on defense Thursday came when he filled in for the injured Orlando Scandrick. Brown played the final eight defensive snaps and made an interception, a tackle and a pass breakup.
The Cowboys also gave rookie Xavier Woods more playing time, alternating him with Jones at free safety. Woods played 46 of 60 snaps and Jones 45. Woods had six tackles, including one for loss, and Jones had four tackles.
“He brought some physicality,” secondary coach Joe Baker said of Frazier, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think everybody in the stadium felt it. He just really lit some guys up out there, and that does become contagious. It’s one of the things that our defense is built on is physicality. So he was good.”
The Cowboys will have an offseason decision to make on Jones: Do they pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, guaranteeing him roughly $9 million?
The Cowboys openly acknowledge that Jones struggles in run support, and he has only two career interceptions, so the answer appears to be no.
“Frazier is a legitimate, natural, what we call a ‘down safety,'” owner Jerry Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “I was really impressed with how he took advantage of his play time and punished physically the Redskins. We need that. That’s an important part of things to create that physicalness that you can get from that secondary. Got to be reminded he’s not a linebacker. He’s a quasi-linebacker when he’s down like that, a quasi-linebacker/safety.
“So let’s start with we need that in the defense, and I think that was impressive out there, the toll, his physicalness. Of course, Byron is a freak — in a positive way — athlete, and we need him playing center field.”