For some Dallas Cowboys fans, the name Jeff Heath is a trigger.
His name alone can summon ghosts of seasons past, featuring flashes of Jimmy Graham dragging a rookie Heath to a first down in the Cowboys’ 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints in 2013. Or images from that time he rode into the end zone on Adrian Peterson’s back in the Boys’ November 2013 home win over the Vikings.
Fans and sportswriters, alike, were all but ready to name Heath the conductor of the hot mess express that was the Cowboys’ defense in 2013. But, that was four years ago. And, well, a lot can happen in four years. (See: DeMarco Murray)
Heath had a tough rookie campaign. To be fair, life happened fast for the un-drafted free agent out of Saginaw Valley State. He was propelled from a “special-teams player” with potential promise to a starting safety for America’s Team in a matter of weeks, thanks to injuries. But, he had to have that season in order to earn the position he’s in today and become the player he is now. The one that manages to make big defensive plays when the Cowboys seem to need it the most. Just ask Aaron Rodgers.
Even still, Heath is working to improve his game. Reports from The Star revealed that the five year veteran has been doing his homework and studying the play-making likes of Earl Thomas and Eric Berry, to name a few. Heath even logged some noteworthy moments in Cowboys’minicamp in the spring.
He’s hungry, and it’s time for him to show up to the table.
The secondary has some questions for training camp to answer. One of them, of course, is filling the void left by Barry Church in the starting safety position. Prior to the draft, the Cowboys signed veteran safety Robert Blanton, then drafted a pair of possible replacements in Chidobe Awuize and Xavier Woods.
While the prospect of fresh/new talent is appealing, a la offseason additions, Heath is still viewed as the reliable player for the job. His experience and ethic could prove key for this young looking secondary.
Is the time now for Jeff Heath?
Well, the stage is certainly set for it, and he’s no longer the Jeff Heath of past. It’s just a matter of him showing up and putting on a show.
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