A Super Bowl appearance for the Dallas Cowboys looked very promising but now they’ll have to do it without Pro Bowl Cornerback, Trevon Diggs. He suffered an ACL tear in practice Thursday which is a huge blow in the secondary. Their defense put up historic numbers through the first two weeks but losing a player like Diggs is significant. The Cowboys shouldn’t hit the panic button and there’s nothing to worry about moving forward and here’s why.
Why The Cowboys Will Manage Without Pro Bowl Corner
Next Man Up
The acquisition of Stephon Gilmore gives the Cowboys some room to breathe and luckily Jourdan Lewis has returned from the foot injury he suffered last October. With the injury to Diggs, he will return to his spot as the nickel corner, while DaRon Bland will move outside. By being able to play both in the slot and on the outside he offers much-needed versatility. Going back to last season, he’s shown that no moment is too big for him.
Bland, who was drafted in the fifth round last year, burst on the scene after Lewis’ injury. He became the starter in week 10 and didn’t look back. He finished his rookie campaign with 54 total tackles, seven pass deflections, and five interceptions. Coming into this season, he earned the nod to be the starting slot corner. So far, Bland has been a huge part of Quinn’s schemes. He’s played 81 total snaps and already has an interception return for a touchdown. Turn on the tape and you’ll see everything he has to offer. They’ve found a gem and the Cowboys’ secondary is in good hands.
The Front Line
Micah Parsons is arguably the best non-quarterback player in the NFL and the front-runner for DPOY. According to the NFL’s website, he’s posted a pass rush score of 99 and leads the league in positive rushes (42). He’s taken his game to another level and it’s rubbed off on his teammates. The defensive line has been playing lights out, and they’ll turn up the intensity to help the secondary out. As an opposing quarterback, it’s a nightmare to face this defensive front. This group is tied first with 10 sacks, has only allowed 29 completions, and is only allowing 3.8 yards per pass attempt.
It’s not just Parsons being a matchup nightmare, the Cowboys have dogs all over the defensive line. DeMarcus Lawrence’s dominance may not show up on the stat sheet but he’s still playing elite-level ball. He’s tallied a 91.6 PFF grade and has had more room to shine, thanks to the attention leaning towards Parsons. With Lawrence lined up on the opposite side, it’s a pick-your-poison type of situation. With so much attention on the two dominant pass rushers, others have fed off the energy and now Osa Odighizuwa has arrived. He has three sacks so far and will look to continue to be a disrupter in both the run and pass game.
As long as Dan Quinn is in control there is no need to worry if you’re Dallas. He took what was the worst defense statistically and made them a top-three defense each season he’s coached. Through two weeks they have shown they’re the most dominant unit in the NFL and will continue to hunt. They’re only allowed five PPG and, currently lead the league in takeaways (7).
Quinn is a guru who will find ways to adjust his defense and put his players in a position to make plays. There’s tons of depth in the secondary don’t be surprised if Noah Igbinoghene and rookie Eric Scott Jr. see more playing time as the defense continues to move pieces around. Diggs is obviously a dynamic piece of this defense and the Cowboys’ defense will ball out for him. “I am my brothers keeper! I got you 7! No more need to be said!” Parsons said via Twitter/X. The Cowboys will hold it down for Diggs as he awaits his return in 2024.
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