DALLAS - AUGUST 22: Cornerback Terence Newman #41 of the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium on August 22, 2008 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Terence Newman has missed significant time in each of the past two seasons with injury, which is probably why he has become known as an injury-prone, though greatly talented corner. "If Newman could only stay healthy..." seems to be an often echoed sentiment around water coolers and bar rooms in Dallas, a statement that operates on the assumption that, if healthy, Terence Newman would be a cog in the defense.
This is probably a safe bet, and certainly an understandable thought. Newman equaled his career high in interceptions with four in 2008, despite missing six games with nagging injuries. But with the former Kansas State Wildcat ostensibly healthy (knock knock), and with Dallas' defense faster and more commited to the turnover, could 2009 be the best Newman has ever been?
Jerry Jones sure thinks so. The owner, in between asserting that Dallas is far wealthier than any other team in the league and blaming slow ticket sales on the slumping economy, gushed about the cornerback.
"Terence is looking the best I've seen him as a Cowboy--since
he's been a Cowboy, and the reason for that is that he has not been losing any focus between plays," Jones said. "He basically has always been a Pro Bowl, or better, cornerback. I remind everybody, on 21 draft boards in the NFL
he was the number one pick when he came out."
Jones, and Dallas as a whole, are counting on Newman to provide some on-field leadership to the new look secondary. And apparently, the key word here is 'focus.'
"I know it's been real frustrating [with] his injury, but what I'm seeing is a real focus to the point that a couple of us have said look, maybe we ought to pull back on him, and let's don't let him get in an injury situation, let's just don't expose him to injury," Jones continued. "Wade said, 'look, he's playing the best I've ever seen him play, and one of the reasons [is] he's focused on every play."
"We know he's very capable of being a great player," said Jones. "I'm going to tell you, if he can play at that level, and we get these other guys really honed in here, we made a dramatic improvement in secondary."