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Mailbag: How do dynamics of secondary change?


Now that Trevon Diggs is lost for the rest of the season, how does that change the dynamics of the defensive secondary?– Jesse Lozano/Corpus Christi, TX

Patrik: It's difficult to understate the loss of a player like Trevon Diggs. This is not only a First-Team All-Pro cornerback, but one that's set records in a short period of time, is in the discussion as the best in the league, and one who was off to a red-hot start that included an improved level of tackling. In his absence, I expect the Cowboys to thank the football gods for Jourdan Lewis being ready ahead of schedule. That allows him to get back to his starting nickel back role, moving DaRon Bland to the boundary (where he did a lot of work in camp as insurance) opposite Stephon Gilmore. The depth then goes to Noah Igbinoghene, who was acquired in a swap for Kelvin Joseph as well as rookie fifth-round pick Eric Scott (NCB2) and safety Israel Mukuamu providing flex ability, as he did against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the playoffs. Unlike in 2022, the Cowboys actually have ready-made solutions at the position.

Nick Eatman: As much as I'd like to be a glass-half-full guy on this one, it's still a little too soon for me to get there and find some silver lining on this one. Man, it's going to hurt. Will the Cowboys survive? Probably because they have some depth here. But to say this one isn't going to have a major impact is just a little naïve at this point. The combination of having an elite pass-rusher with an elite cover corner was the catalyst to having one of, if not the best defenses in the NFL. And Diggs was actually more than just a coverage corner because he's got unique ball skills that could probably make him an NFL wide receiver, too. His interception just last week was an example of how great his hands are. So you've got a cover corner with the ability to get the football and they get the benefit of playing behind this pass rush, it was looking lethal. So now, Stephon Gilmore slides into that role and DaRon Bland has to step up, as well as the rest of the group. They can get the job done but against games like the Eagles and 49ers, who have plenty of weapons, having an elite cover guy like Diggs was a necessity that will be tough to replace.

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