Dallas Cowboys are wise to encourage Trevon Diggs to play loose

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

It’s hard to describe Trevon Diggs to outsiders. Unless you’ve watched the All-22 tape, it’s difficult for a lot of people to wrap their minds around the Dallas Cowboys top ball-hawking weapon.

Most will agree, Diggs, a 2020 second round pick, has been a tough evaluation this season. Some people are highly critical, pointing out all the yards he’s given up through his gambling ways. While others are focused on his value-added, and focused on how his big plays make up for his handful of receptions allowed (which, by the numbers, they most certainly do).

While the NFL may be debating Trevon Diggs’ value, the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff sure isn’t.

Dallas has been encouraging him every step of the way.

It would be understandable if the Dallas Cowboys coaches wanted to narrow the delta between Trevon Diggs’ good plays and bad plays each week. By adding a touch more conservatism, Diggs could be a more consistent presence and traditional CB1 for this Cowboys defense.

Trevon Diggs has broken the mold at CB so we need to stop trying to cram him in it.

Yet, we keep seeing coaches and teammates encourage Diggs to continue to play his loose style of coverage. Even after giving up a big play, we see support and encouragement. Not correction. What gives?

When we watch the broadcast version of the game we only see part of the story. A very small part. We don’t see anything that’s happening in coverage unless the ball is actually thrown there. So when we see Diggs playing coverage on the live broadcast, it’s inevitably when the passer thinks he has him beat (that’s why the QB threw it after all).

So it shouldn’t be surprising we see more bad plays than good plays on the broadcast. And given Diggs’ loose style of play, it’s understandable some of those bad plays look bad.

Most CBs face-guard most of the time, keeping separation minimal but also drastically reducing their own ability to make plays on the ball. Trevon’s eyes are transfixed on the QB, making him vulnerable to separation but also empowered to make plays on the ball.

I’m not exactly breaking news to tell you Trevon Diggs spends a lot of time looking in the backfield and watching the QB. That’s the exact reason why he leads the NFL in interceptions this year with 7 picks in 7 games.

Look at the two plays I’ve highlighted above. Both are bad plays for this Dallas defense since one resulted in a big catch and run and the other drew a flag. But there’s more to gain from these plays than their simple result.

In the first play, Diggs was in perfect position to cover the slant and make a play on the ball. He lost track of his man who widened his route ever-so-slightly and that’s what ultimately led to the catch. A quick glance at Thielen at some point or an outstretched hand would correct this outcome.

On the second play we have Diggs predicting the slant but Thielen breaking deep, drawing the contact and even causing Diggs to stumble. But Diggs recovers spectacularly and uses his extra gear to bridge the separation and his ball skills to track and make a play on the ball.

There’s a reason Diggs’ college coach, Nick Saban, didn’t micromanage his play at Alabama.

Going back through the entire game we can see Diggs had lock-down coverage almost the entire time. And even on these “bad” plays, he showed a lot of positive traits (follow me on Twitter to see more).

That’s why the Cowboys coaches are encouraging him so much. They don’t want to take away what makes him special. And the part that makes him vulnerable is far less significant than some will have you believe.

There’s a reason Diggs’ college coach, Nick Saban, didn’t micromanage his play at Alabama. Even though Saban is a renowned DB guru, he wanted Diggs to play to his strength and stay loose. Saban never does that with his DBs.

Trevon Diggs has broken the mold at CB so we need to stop trying to cram him in it. He’s a different kind of player and he’s far less dangerous to Dallas’ success than some will have you believe. Keep being you, Trevon.

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That’s why the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff isn’t trying to round Diggs’ edges.