Mike Zimmer Makes it Clear Cowboys Have Moved on From Stephon Gilmore

New Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer spoke glowingly about DaRon Bland and Trevon Diggs this week, likely ending all talk about a potential Stephon Gilmore reunion.
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys hired former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer this offseason as their new defensive coordinator with Dan Quinn leaving to take the head coaching gig with the Washington Commanders.

Zimmer walks into a good situation as the Cowboys’ defense has playmakers on the front seven (Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence) and the secondary. Dallas had one of the better pass defenses in the NFL last season, thanks to the play of DaRon Bland and Stephon Gilmore at the cornerback spot.

Gilmore, who is still a free agent after having a solid 2023 season with Dallas, expressed interest about wanting to return to the Cowboys earlier this offseason.

However, there hasn’t been much talk about a potential Gilmore return, and it appears that Zimmer is comfortable with the Cowboys’ current cornerback situation.

“Anytime you have two good corners, it allows you to do a lot of other things,” Zimmer said about All-Pro corners Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland (h/t Jon Machota of The Athletic). “You can tilt the coverage, you can play man-to-man, you can double other guys. That’s an exciting part. Typically, when we’ve had good corners, we’ve played pretty good, so knock on wood that we will.”

Gilmore was an excellent reinforcement at cornerback last season after Diggs suffered a torn ACL in September. However, with Diggs returning and Bland coming off an incredible season, there’s no room for Gilmore.

Not to mention, the Cowboys also have Jourdan Lewis playing in the slot. At the same time, the Cowboys hope all three starting cornerbacks can stay healthy because the depth behind them is unproven.

For the Cowboys to win the NFC East (+120 on FanDuel Sportsbook) for the third time in the last four years, they will need Bland and Diggs to play at an All-Pro level as they have to see DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Jahan Dotson, and Terry McLaurin. 

Bland led the NFL last season with nine interceptions and had five defensive touchdowns. He also posted a 59.5 completion percentage allowed on targets, a 60.8 pass rating allowed when targeted, and gave up four receiving touchdowns. 

Cowboys fans shouldn’t expect Bland to have nine interceptions this season. But if Zimmer can coach up the defensive line, it should make life easier for Bland and Diggs.

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