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Cowboys’ secondary appears to be like to guide ‘change of mentality on protection’

Cowboys’ secondary appears to be like to guide ‘change of mentality on protection’

By David Helman

FOX Sports activities Dallas Cowboys Author

OXNARD, Calif. — With all due respect to quite a lot of former Cowboys defensive backs, one thing feels totally different in 2022. 

It used to really feel like a ceremony of summer time to return out to the West Coast and watch this crew’s receivers placed on a present. From Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, it was widespread as just lately as final 12 months to look at a Dallas wideout take over coaching camp.

For the report, Lamb is taking part in simply nice in his third NFL coaching camp. However this time round it feels extra like a good combat, as a result of, for all of the criticism the Cowboys’ secondary has taken over the previous decade or so, this one has opened camp at about as excessive a stage as attainable. 

“I really feel just like the protection is lastly catching up, and we lastly can match the offense with flash performs and factors and every part,” mentioned Anthony Brown

Brown was the right man to ask concerning the secondary. Draw up a listing of Cowboys gamers having fun with the most effective first week of camp, and the seventh-year nook had higher be on it. He pick-sixed Dak Prescott on the primary day of apply, and he has managed to keep up that stage or efficiency for the previous week. On Thursday, he confirmed his restoration potential by regaining a misplaced step on KaVontae Turpin and breaking apart a would-be landing. 

It has been noticeable sufficient that Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy took the time to say that Brown — typically the topic of criticism from followers and media alike — typically goes underappreciated.

“I feel he is somebody that ought to get extra love from you guys. Only a suggestion,” McCarthy mentioned. “I feel he is accomplished quite a lot of good issues. However extra importantly, he is very, very constant. What I like about AB is he is the identical man day by day.”

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However it is not simply Brown. Clearly, Trevon Diggs deserves point out, as he seeks to construct on his first-team All-Professional choice in 2021. However even after an 11-interception season, there’s loads of debate about the place Diggs elements on the pecking order of NFL cowl guys.  

Going again to the purpose about Brown, Diggs mentioned the Cowboys’ secondary feels forgotten. Perhaps everyone seems to be simply holding their breath, ready to see if a protection that led the league with 34 takeaways — together with 17 interceptions by its cornerbacks — can do it once more. 

“All of us, we have accomplished issues, we simply have not gotten the respect that we wanted but,” Diggs mentioned. “That is no one’s fault. We simply received to go on the market and present what we are able to do.” 

The enjoyable factor is that there should not be a lot of a studying curve. Dan Quinn is again for an additional journey as defensive coordinator, that means the scheme stays largely the identical.  

Quinn reportedly supplied to depart Cowboys

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn advised USA At the moment that he supplied to depart Dallas if it will make issues “simpler” for head coach Mike McCarthy. Colin Cowherd weighs in on whether or not Quinn ought to have stayed or left.

Extra necessary than that, the secondary itself is generally the identical. All three major cornerbacks are beneath contract at the least for this season, and the entrance workplace retained firebrand security Jayron Kearse on a two-year deal. 

Damontae Kazee is gone from final 12 months’s crew, however even that loss is mitigated by the choice to re-sign Malik Hooker, who performed 446 snaps as Quinn’s third security.  

“Simply to return again, I assumed it was unfinished enterprise, and clearly the fellows we had that I knew was coming again, too,” Hooker mentioned.

All of it combines to create one of many deepest, most veteran secondaries this franchise has had in fairly a while. Even the again finish of the depth chart appears to be like promising, with a pair of extremely drafted corners ready within the wings and fourth-year security Donovan Wilson rounding out the again finish. 

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They’re going to be examined shortly. Inside the first 5 weeks of the season, this group faces three of the NFL’s most explosive passing assaults: Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and the L.A. Rams. It figures to be fairly a step as much as go from defending the Cowboys’ depleted receiver corps to the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II

Not surprisingly, the Cowboys’ DBs say they’re as much as the problem. The unusual factor is that, in 2022, it feels simpler to imagine them. 

“I really feel like when Jerry and people guys drafted us, it felt like they wished to have a change of mentality on protection,” mentioned sixth-year nook Jourdan Lewis. “We had just a few adjustments that led up to now, however finally we’re attending to the place we wish to be on protection.” 

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities, offering perception and evaluation on the NFL’s most seen franchise. Previous to becoming a member of FOX, David spent 9 seasons masking the Cowboys for the crew’s official web site, In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his position in producing “Dak Prescott: A Household Reunion” concerning the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.

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