FRISCO, Texas - "Anything you can do, I can do better." That line from a classic show tune is clearly playing in the forefront of the mind of every defensive back in the Cowboys locker room, where the competition to be great doesn't begin and end with the greatness of First-Team All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs.
One of the weekly question marks revolved around just when opposing quarterbacks would stop throwing toward Diggs, who continued to rack up interceptions en route to tying team-legend Everson Walls with 11 INTs on the season and 21 pass break ups - league-best in both categories.
But if they're thinking about finally employing that approach in 2022, Diggs believes they'll find an equal amount of regret waiting in the other bowls of porridge.
"I feel like they'll have a tough time throwing the ball anywhere on this defense, my side, Anthony [Brown's] side, in the middle - anywhere" said Diggs on Wednesday, as the Cowboys prepare to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the regular season opener at AT&T Stadium on Sunday evening. "I feel like everyone can do exactly what I did last year. I have complete faith in all the guys. I see them work.
"I work with them every day so I know what they're capable of. That's on [the QB] to decide where they want to go with the ball, and we'll see what happens."
A bold belief, but signs point to him not being incorrect.
Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are both coming off of career-best seasons of their own, grabbing six combined interceptions (three a piece) and while that's a far cry from the number 11, Brown admitted early in training camp that he left "five or six" interceptions on the field in 2021 - film readily supporting that claim.
With Lewis having now returned to practice from a hamstring tweak suffered in August, the Cowboys secondary is again whole and with another offseason of work with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (and his defensive staff) under their belt, so it stands to reason that be it Diggs, Brown, Lewis or a safety unit led by Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse and Donovan Wilson; there's little reason to believe each player hasn't become better and more refined in the system.
For his part, Lewis believes exactly that, and explained why what Diggs said isn't a bold take.
"The way [Diggs played in 2021] elevated our game," said the sixth-year cornerback. "I know [Anthony Brown] can attest to this. The way Tre played, some quarterbacks were like, 'Let's go the other way,' but A.B. stood up. It's just understood that we have to compete with a guy on our team because he's trying to be the best and we all want to be the best, and we can't let a young dude outdo us.
"We all want to be the best in that [CB] group, and we'll take the challenge head-on."
Lewis was correct, because Brown mirrored the sentiment.
"It's the same risk everywhere you throw it [against] our defense," Brown said. "We're all looking to get the ball. We're all looking to make plays - to be a playmaker."
While everyone continues to justifiably focus on what Diggs may or may not do in 2022, the bigger concern for opposing QBs might not simply be avoiding the former second-round pick turned premier NFL cornerback, but instead trying to figure out where they can throw the ball.