There weren’t many positives to take from the Dallas Cowboys’ regular season finale in Washington. Outside of CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong, and Osa Odighizuwa, very few Cowboys brought their Sunday best to FedEx Field.
While some players had moments, that foursome was consistently impactful throughout the game. You know who deserves mention right alongside the four starters, though? Left-for-dead defensive lineman Chauncey Golston.
The Cowboys have a cavalcade of capable defensive linemen, so Golston’s played sparingly this season. Since Week 11, the 2021 third-round pick has logged just 102 snaps. For context, Odighizuwa has logged the same number of snaps in the last three weeks alone, per Pro Football Focus. That paints a good picture of how low Golston is in the DL pecking order.
Despite the abnormally low snap share, Golston’s been effective. In fact, since Week 11 he’s produced a 88.3 player grade, per PFF.
Though a defensive end by trade, Golston’s biggest impact has come against the run. He’s done tremendously filling the void left by people-mover Johnathan Hankins, who missed the last four games with a pec strain.
In fact, Golston was the Cowboys’ highest-graded defender in the loss. Is it crazy to say he should have an increased role vs the Buccaneers?
Cowboys’ DL Chauncey Golston deserves an expanded role vs the Buccaneers after dominant Week 18.
We get the idea of rolling with the studs who got you here, but that’s an incredibly ignorant approach. The Cowboys have struggled against the run all year, but they held up well Sunday (Washington was admittedly down Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson), and Golston played a huge role in that.
Simply put, Golston put together the best performance of his career … and he did it playing an unfamiliar role along the interior.
At 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds, Golston is undersized for an interior defender, but his quickness caused headaches for Washington’s OL. When all was said and done, he compiled a game-high 11 tackles and six run stops. He even gobbled up Jonathan Williams for a tackle for loss on a 3rd and 1 with Dallas trailing by a touchdown.
Why not play the hot hand? While Odighizuwa should get all the snaps he can handle on the interior, Golston should be higher in the pecking order than Neville Gallimore, who’s put together an underwhelming third season.
Golston’s contributions aren’t lost on Dan Quinn, who hinted at a potential expanded role for the Iowa product on Monday.
At the very least, Golston should be third behind Odighizuwa and Carlos Watkins, another overlooked defender (most underrated player on the roster?) who quietly did his job down the stretch of the regular season.
Whatever the case, Golston should have an increased role to play agains the Buccaneers. If the Cowboys can slow down Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White in the trenches, and make Tampa Bay’s offense one-dimensional, that’ll put Dallas in a great position to pick up a road playoff win in a hostile atmosphere.