It’s amazing how much things have changed for this Dallas Cowboys secondary under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They went from one of the least dependable units in the league in terms of touchdowns and yards given up, to a dangerous and opportunistic unit with the ability to handle whatever was thrown at them last season. That speaks volumes as to how well prepared this coaching staff has gotten these guys before each game.
The combination of Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, Jayron Kearse, and Malik Hooker is a solid unit, and there is viable depth behind them. If those four defenders can improve on their impressive 2021 seasons, it will greatly benefit the Cowboys as they go against some of their tougher opponents at the beginning of the schedule.
The Cowboys’ secondary needs to have a strong start in order for the team to win games early
This group will certainly see challenges as they will be facing off against teams with a variety of receivers that can be huge factors in games.
They’ll face receivers with a nice combination of speed and height or speedsters with the ability to get in and out of breaks quickly to create space and make plays with the ball in their hands. This Cowboys secondary, led by Diggs, will need to be at the top of their game immediately if Dallas wants to have any chance at starting off fast this season.
Here’s a list of the receiver combinations they will be facing to kick off the season.
Week 1: Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Chris Godwin
Combined Yards in 2021: 3,342
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 24
Week 2: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd
Combined Yards in 2021: 3,374
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 24
Week 3: Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Kadarious Toney
Combined Yards in 2021: 1,646
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 3
Week 4: Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson
Combined Yards in 2021: 2,262
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 17
Week Five: Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson
Combined Yards in 2021: 3,159
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 23
Week Six: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Zach Pascal, and Jalen Reagor
Combined Yards in 2021: 2,468
Combined Touchdowns in 2021: 15
When you combine all of these stats, this squad will be going up against receivers that put up a total of 16,251 yards and 106 touchdowns last season.
Now, you can look at the quarterbacks for New York Giants and Washington Commanders and say that we shouldn’t worry about them as much, but with the changes the Giants made at head coach and offensive coordinator, you can expect to see a jump in production out of this group and the carousel at quarterback for the Commanders should now be settled with the signing of Carson Wentz. The former Eagle should help boost the group’s production along with a healthy Samuel coming back as well.
The Rams’ numbers could also be a lot higher if and when they decide to bring back Odell Beckham Jr. who’s still recovering from an ACL injury.
Overall, this is a tough group of receivers in the first six weeks that will bring multiple looks, groupings, and strengths on the field against a Cowboys secondary that in their second year will be looking to improve upon their breakout season in 2021.
Everyone will need to be at the top of their game or they could see their season start to slip away early to a Philadelphia Eagles team who has bolstered their roster in an effort to win an NFC East divisional title and make noise in the playoffs.
To do this, the secondary will need to take fewer chances to come up with a big play and put more of a focus on the fundamentals and assignments so they aren’t giving up major yardage.