FRISCO, Texas — The cornerback room in Dallas is arguably brimming with talent heading into the 2022 season, but that is admittedly contingent upon the group staying healthy and continuing its upward trajectory established to this point. To that point, the Cowboys are enjoying good news as it relates to Jourdan Lewis - the starting nickel corner who's often been a takeaway machine for the club.
He's made strides in his recovery though and, as Lewis himself described his recovery following the Cowboys first training camp practice at The Star in Frisco. The six-year veteran has resumed running and when asked if he's on track to play against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 11, Lewis' response was a confident one.
"Oh yeah," he said with a smile.
Lewis suffered an injured [read: tweaked] hamstring in the first scrimmage against the Los Angeles Chargers last week and was effectively ruled out of any additional preseason reps because of it.
He was never slated to see any playing time in either of the three preseason games anyway, but his return to the field will make the Cowboys group of defensive backs that much more formidable when they battle Brady and his stable of offensive weapons.
That group could very well include rookie fifth-round pick DaRon Bland who, even prior to the injury to Lewis, was nothing short of impressive in camp. But with the absence of Lewis, Bland has seen his practice reps increase mightily and his production and impact have both risen commensurate to that spike in playing time.
If Bland can get the nod to remain on the final roster next week, it creates a four-man rotation of Lewis and Bland (who's shown he can play all three CB placements) along with Anthony Brown and First-Team All-Pro Trevon Diggs - former rookie second-round pick Kelvin Joseph also having a shot at surviving cutdowns as he battles with Nahshon Wright for what would presumably be one of the remaining available seats.
Lewis logged 26 starts over the last two seasons combined and after signing a three-year extension in 2021, he went on to deliver a career season that saw him log career-best numbers in pass breakups (11), interceptions (3), forced fumbles (1), fumble recoveries (2) and combined tackles (61).
Having him on the field to begin the season - against Brady and then Joe Burrow in Week 2 - will go a long way to helping the Cowboys chances of getting off to a fast start in 2022.