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Offseason | 2024

Lewis on Zimmer scheme: 'It's our job to perform'


FRISCO, Texas — There hasn't been much done in 2024 free agency by the Dallas Cowboys, but easily one of the most important was convincing Jourdan Lewis to stick around for the coming season in the midst of an exodus of talent, mostly defensive, to the Washington Commanders and Dan Quinn.

Lewis staying put in Dallas is critical for what the club is hoping to field at cornerback — serving as a playmaking nickel corner that allows Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland to play freely on the boundaries, where the two All-Pro talents have set records.

Diggs is returning from a torn ACL suffered last September, and climbing back from a devastating injury is something Lewis knows more about than he'd care to.

In 2022, he suffered a shattered foot that nearly medically retired him but, one year later, he was back on the field for the Cowboys and, later in the season, back to top form and forcing takeaways.

"There [were] always dark times," he said recently. "I knew I was going to come back, but I didn't know what timeline it would be. I didn't start playing well until a quarter of the season was over. That was really where the dark times were — trying to get back to form and performing to my best abilities.

"I could always play, but making plays and being as explosive as I can."

And you can count Bland in as one of many who are thrilled at Lewis' decision to stick around.

"That's big," he said of Lewis' re-signing. "Jourdan Lewis, for the last couple of years, has been a leader for the defense. To have him again this year is gonna be good for us."

It's the resurgence in late 2023 that showed the Cowboys what Lewis was still capable of, but now he'll have to adapt to yet another change at defensive coordinator. The hiring of Mike Zimmer following the departure of Dan Quinn marks the fourth coordinator change for Lewis in his eight-year career.

In other words, averaging a coordinator change every two seasons, he knows what it takes to embrace a new scheme and thrive as if he's been in it for years.

"There is definitely going to be a learning curve whenever you play for a new coordinator," he said. "But at the same time, we're professionals. That's our job to go out there and perform in any scheme that we're in."

That task effectively ramps up when the Cowboys depart for training camp in Oxnard on July 22, and there's little time for the defense to find their land legs in Zimmer's scheme.

One thing is for certain: Lewis is ready.

He has always been.

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