DALLAS — With a new coaching regime comes new philosophies, and the prevailing philosophy on the Dallas Cowboys' back end is to field the best group of defensive backs.
A cornerback who is getting a shot at more playing time under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is Anthony Brown, who is entering his fifth season with the team.
"We’re running multiple coverages now, just different lingo," Brown said. "That’s pretty much the difference. Everything else is pretty much the same. At the end of the day, it’s football. You’re just tackling, covering. Just the lingo on the back end and just trying to get adjusted to our coaches and everything."
Predominantly an inside cornerback, Brown has been given a chance to play more outside corner, and the coaching staff likes his position flexibility.
"We love his versatility," defensive backs coach Maurice Linguist said. "He's a smart kid. AB is smart, he's intelligent, he's got good football instincts. So, he's versatile and able to do what we're asking him to do.
Brown, a 2016 sixth-round pick from Purdue, signed a three-year contract extension with the Cowboys in the offseason.
"He's got a great change of direction, and you combine that with his ability to be a smart, heady player," Linguist continued. "He's put himself in the right position to stay connected to receivers, and he's another guy that's touching the football."
The 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound defensive back saw his contract year cut short with a season-ending triceps injury. Brown started in four of his nine games and contributed 17 tackles, a tackle for loss, and five pass breakups.
"It took a few months," said Brown. "I didn’t really start feeling good until about six or seven months after surgery. I’ve been out there every day with nothing, no breaks, no anything on my arm — taking falls, getting off blocks. It’s been holding up pretty good."
Linguist is pleased with the progress Brown has made in camp.
"I think one of the best qualities about him is the intelligence that he brings, and he's a football person," the coach explained. "So, I mean, you're able to just put him in different places and he can pick it up and get done what we're asking him to do."
Brown is also a collection of all of the veteran leadership he has played with throughout his previous four seasons, especially former Dallas 2015 first-round pick, Bryon Jones.
"I learned a lot from Byron," Brown said. "I learned a lot from a lot of guys that I’ve been playing with, even Brandon [Carr] and Morris [Claiborne] and Orlando [Scandrick] and Byron. From all those guys, I learned just you’ve got to keep pushing forward every day. This game’s going to challenge you every day. You’ve got to keep pushing forward and never relax."
If Brown is able to keep pushing, he should be able to convince Mike McCarthy's staff that he is one of the best defensive backs to earn playing time in Nolan's multiple-coverage scheme.
Do you think the Cowboys will be able to create more turnovers with a change in defensive philosophy in 2020? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.