Note: Updated and Reposted from Original Article.
Since the pre-season, the Cowboys have shown that no player is spared a short leash. Perhaps the biggest indication of that came on Tuesday when Dallas cut ties with veteran safety Will Allen.
Allen’s play has been inconsistent all season. He intercepted an Eli Manning pass in the Week 1 blow-out, but had another one bounce off his hands in the loss to the Chiefs. Spotty coverage in the first few games resulted in his surrendering the starting Strong Safety job to rookie J.J. Wilcox.
Allen was doing fine coming off the bench, though, and even made contributions on Special Teams. His holding penalty in the fourth quarter against the Broncos, however, seemed to be the last straw. While an intolerance for inconsistency is something Cowboys fans have desired for a very long time, those happy to see Allen go should take a minute to think about what they are losing.
The Coaches brought in Will Allen for several reasons: he was knowledgeable about the new system having played for Monte Kiffin, could mentor the young guys, and though not a superstar, had been a solid player his whole career. Plus, reports about his character and locker-room influence have been always been positive.
Now, the Dallas Cowboys have four safeties on their roster, and their combined years of experience still don’t equal Allen’s 10. Indeed, veteran status is not tenure – it doesn’t mean job security. At the same time, is it really wise to leave Barry Church, rookie JJ Wilcox (who only converted to safety his last year of college), Danny McCray, and undrafted rookie Jeff Heath in a new system without a mentor?
In addition, let’s not forget that the Cowboys aren’t exactly immune to injuries. Barry Church suffered a torn achilles in Week 3 of the 2012 season, and broke his nose this past Sunday against the Broncos. When you consider that Church’s back-ups are McCray and Heath, one might get a bit worried. Both seem to be good players, but McCray is really around for his skills on Special Teams, and Heath is as raw as they come.
There is no word yet on how the ‘Boys plan to fill Allen’s spot. Many (such as myself) are eager for the promotion of DB/S Micah Pellerin from the practice squad, and others feel that there may be bigger plans in the works (a trade, you say?). In any event, the Cowboys have put themselves at risk by cutting Allen.
Here’s an interesting fact: Only 3 out of 9 players in the Cowboys secondary have more than 2 years of NFL experience. If Allen’s play was so bad, then keep him off the field. But that veteran presence is indispensable, especially for such a young squad.