Identifying Key Players to Step Up for the Cowboys Post Trevon Diggs' ACL Injury

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Identifying Key Players to Step Up for the Cowboys Post Trevon Diggs' ACL Injury
In Frisco, Texas Trevon Diggs, who sustained a season-ending ruptured ACL in his left knee during practise on Thursday, will undoubtedly be missed by the Dallas Cowboys.

Diggs has 18 interceptions, more than any other cornerback in the NFL since 2020. The Cowboys have used man coverage at the greatest percentage in the NFL since Dan Quinn took over as defensive coordinator in 2021, and Diggs has responded with 15 interceptions and 38 passes defensed. NFL Next Gen Stats shows that through two games this season, he has only allowed three receptions on eight targets for 31 yards.

However, this is a team that, with Cooper Rush starting at quarterback, won four out of five games after losing quarterback Dak Prescott in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the year prior. And this is a squad that won 10 games last season while playing without Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith for the first 13 games due to a ruptured hamstring.

In order to continue what the defence has done in the first two games—suffocate rival offences by giving up only 10 points while collecting 10 sacks and forcing seven turnovers—the Cowboys now need Stephon Gilmore, DaRon Bland, Jourdan Lewis, and the rest of their cornerbacks.

Gilmore turned 33 on Tuesday, and the Cowboys' March acquisition of him from the Indianapolis Colts seems even more wise now. He was praised by teammates upon his debut and had an interception in the season opener vs the New York Giants.

Now again, he's arguably the smartest DB I've ever lined up against, according to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. "I get one yard down the field off a release; it seems like he's mentally removing routes." I'm not sure if you can do it again, but you beat him. You got it. Well done if you get to do it. I adore that man. So happy he joined our team.

Although Bland is most likely to start opposite Gilmore in place of Diggs, he has performed well as a slot corner and has only made two of his eight career starts on the outside. Thanks in large part to Diggs' hit on Saquon Barkley, he led the Cowboys in interceptions last season with five. This season, he returned an interception for a touchdown in the Giants' opening game.

Bland, the closest defender, allowed a passer rating of 66.5, which ranks seventh among defensive backs targeted at least 60 times since the season's beginning, according to Next Gen Stats. Cameron Sutton (65.1), Jonathan Jones (64.1), James Bradberry (60.0), and Riq Woollen (50.5) have all performed better.

Following the Giants' victory, Quinn remarked, "It's never been too big for him." It wasn't like, 'Oh, s---, here we go,' the first game he started after Jourdan was hurt, as I recall. He gave a performance in the game and was prepared to go get it on. He has always had the quality of only growing better and better with each passing moment. I adore that he can play outside all year round. That merely increases his adaptability for us.

Before sustaining a Lisfranc injury to his right foot in October of last year, Lewis was enjoying his finest season yet. In his first game back, he played ten snaps against the Jets last week, forcing a third-down incompletion on a Zach Wilson pass to Randall Cobb.

Before Diggs' injury was made public, Lewis declared, "I'm fully healthy now." "It's about demonstrating my ability and foot stability so I can go out there and play the entire game."