The Dallas Cowboys need to look beyond their Pro Bowl players and find that elite player.
There is no doubt that the Dallas Cowboys have a talented roster on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, the Cowboys offensive weapons are so scary that the odd makers have slightly increased their chances of winning the Super Bowl.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys don’t have as many Pro Bowlers or impact players as the offense, and that partly explains why some critics don’t even see the Cowboys winning at the NFC East.
Outside of Pro Bowler DeMarcus Lawrence (and maybe linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch), the rest of the Cowboys defense consist of up and coming players with just potential. And that goes for highly rated, rookie corner Trevon Diggs.
But in order for the Cowboys to make a deep push into the playoffs, the Cowboys need a surprise player on the defensive side of the ball to step up his game and make this a complete team on both sides of the ball.
I’m not talking about D-Law returning to his Pro Bowl self, nor am I referring to the addition of Aldon Smith, and I’m not implying Jaylon and LVE need to step up like their dynamic duo selves of 2018.
See, those aforementioned players could play at a high level and improve the defense, but it still won’t be enough in today’s passing league.
Having a dominant front seven is a great dynamic for any defense, but when that team has an elite secondary behind it led by a supremely talented player, its the icing on the cake because that player is special. Dallas needs to find to its special player.
Nope. The Cowboys defense needs someone that is more spectacular to make it a formidable one. Quite frankly, that surprised player needs be a star defensive back. Dallas needs that special player to be a corner/safety that’s a ball hawking, pick-6 type athlete that opposing quarterbacks fear. Or at least respect. You know, like Byron Jones.
Of course, the first player that comes to mind is rookie corner, Diggs. The former Crimson Tide All America was drafted in the second round, but Dallas graded Diggs as first rounder. Diggs has all the tools and talent to be that special player that uplifts this secondary with interceptions, tackles, forced fumbles, and that all-important pick-6.
If Diggs can play at an optimum level, his spectacular play will have a domino effect and only lead to great things because not only will the offense get the ball back, but it will get the ball back in good field position or Diggs can return that interception for a touchdown.
If D-Law and the front seven can pressure opposing quarterbacks into bad throws, the skill set of Diggs can take over and nab an interception. And if Diggs isn’t the one to do it, then maybe its a safety like Donovan Wilson.
During the preseason of 2018, Wilson was a fan favorite because he picked off a few passes (including a toe-drag interception against the Houston Texans), a hard hitter and had the ability to always be around the ball, simply a ballhawk.
Although Wilson played in 11 games last season, it was sparingly at best, and he was injured, too. Why Wilson didn’t see the field often is still a mystery; however, Wilson is the one player that could take that special step and give the Dallas secondary that much desired play maker it desperately needs.
Wilson fits the part because he’s truly the only player in Dallas’ secondary that display ballhawking-like skills (Jourdan Lewis does too). And after a year of not seeing much action, Wilson has learned the ropes and is primed to take the next step as that “special” player.
But the main reason Dallas needs a special player to take the step up is because most successful defenses have them on their Super Bowl winning teams or on teams that go deep into the playoffs.
I’m going to dive into a little history lesson that can shine a light on the significance of having that special player in a team’s secondary.
Historically Fact: Back in 1981, the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers featured two of the best secondaries in the league. Dallas secondary had collectively intercepted 30 passes between corners Everson Walls and Dennis Thurman, and safeties Michael Downs and Charlie Waters. As a rookie, Walls led the league in interceptions with 11, Downs had seven, Thurman had nine, and Waters had three.
In the 1981 playoffs, Walls and Thurman added two more interceptions apiece, and Downs added one. Walls would end the season with a total of 13 interceptions, Thurman with 11, and Downs with eight. Overall, Dallas’ secondary would tally 35 interceptions during the 1981 regular season and playoffs.
The 49ers secondary was led by future Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, and its secondary had a 25 total interceptions during the 1981 season/playoffs. Lott had a total of nine interceptions, tied with free safety Dwight Hicks. Dallas and the 49ers played twice that year with the 49ers and Joe Montana defeating the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game 28-27, en route to the 49ers winning defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.
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To put this into perspective, Dallas and the 49ers’ secondaries combined for 60 interceptions throughout the 1981 season and playoffs. That’s absolutely amazing, and those two teams were the number one and number two seeds in the playoffs that year. They accomplished this feat when the NFL wasn’t a passing league.
But the Dallas Cowboys and 49ers were led by two, special rookies that year in Walls and Lott that propelled their teams deep into the playoffs, with Lott the one winning the Super Bowl.
Having a dominant front seven is a great dynamic for any defense, but when that team has an elite secondary behind it led by a supremely talented player, it’s the icing on the cake because that player is special. Dallas needs to find to its special player.
Because the proof is in the History of Super Bowl winning teams .
- Published on 08/06/2020 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 08/06/2020 at 06:10 AM