Heath is expected to compete in camp this year for the starting strong safety spot, Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram reports. "Every time we've given him a chance to play on defense, he does something really good for our football team," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Monday. "Makes tackles. Makes interceptions. He's just demonstrated that he's worthy to be in this conversation about competing for that starting safety spot."
The Cowboys have a lot of snaps to replace in their secondary after losing four defensive backs in free agency, including safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox, and all signs point to Heath taking on a much larger role in his fifth NFL season. Whether he's a Week 1 starter next to Byron Jones could depend on whether the team uses an early pick this weekend on a safety, but at the moment his only real competition on the roster comes from second-year player Kavon Frazier and former Viking Robert Blanton.
J.J. Wilcox is also a free agent and may not return either, which could leave Heath competing with second-year player Kavon Frazier for a starting safety spot in camp if Dallas doesn't bring in any outside help at the position. Heath has made his mark on special teams over the last few seasons but saw more action on defense in the second half of 2016, although his IDP impact was minimal (15 tackles and an INT in his final eight games).
He had college soccer scholarship offers coming out of high school, so booting the ball isn't new for Heath. The backup safety has only seen one snap on defense this year, spending most of his time on the special teams coverage units, but if he is pressed into action as Dallas' kicker he could suddenly become a very sneaky IDP play.
Heath was diagnosed with a concussion and will miss Saturday's preseason opener against the Rams, Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News reports.
Heath was originally being evaluated for a shoulder injury, but it turned out to actually be a concussion. The fourth-year player out of Saginaw Valley is currently listed as the second-string free safety on the Cowboy's roster, but with him out Saturday, expect Isaiah Frey to see more playing time.
|P0||8/3/17||@ ARI||8:00 pm|
|P1||8/12/17||@ LAR||9:00 pm|
|P4||8/31/17||@ HOU||8:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|3||9/25/17||@ ARI||8:30 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/22/17||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ WAS||4:25 pm|
|10||11/12/17||@ ATL||4:25 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ NYG||4:25 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ OAK||8:30 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|