The Dallas Cowboys are turning the page from Thursday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, but one of the biggest lessons coming out of it was cornerback DaRon Bland’s game when covering bigger receivers.
With the Cowboys playing the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the Cowboys’ secondary needs to be prepared for another challenging game, with the Eagles’ receiver room being stacked with star receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.
DaRon Bland Rising to the Challenge
Simply put, Bland is coming off of one of the most challenging games of his young career.
In the first half of Thursday’s game against the Seahawks, Bland was targeted six times and allowed five receptions for 137 yards and a 73-yard touchdown reception to DK Metcalf.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn defined Bland’s performance with one word: resilience.
Ahead of Quinn’s press conference, he opened with a statement about the defense’s resilience to come through and ultimately beat the Seahawks 41-35, with the help of crucial fourth-down stops.
“We talk a lot about resilience, a lot. I think it’s not just a word, but it has to be a way of life if you’re really gonna use that. It has to be proven; it has to be earned,” Quinn said.
Although Quinn also mentioned he was unhappy with the game, there was one player in particular he saw epitomized that trait in Week 13 — Bland. When asked how Bland handled the lows from Thursday’s game, Quinn said the second-year player battled back.
“The term I’d use for him is resilience. He’s tough as hell. He’s ready to battle back,” Quinn said.
Quinn said Bland’s ability to create the team’s only turnover (he almost caught another one) shows how he handles the low points.
That was Bland’s eighth interception so far this season, the most in the NFL.
Although Bland’s career has been filled with highs, the lows are inevitable with the nature of the cornerback position.
Quinn says he and Bland discussed the performance to ensure he stays in the moment.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Focus Ahead of Sunday vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
Bland’s ability to bounce back will be needed on Sunday as Dallas will host the Eagles.
The last time the Cowboys and Eagles faced off, the Eagles won, and the Cowboys’ defense didn’t create any turnovers. Ahead of Sunday Night Football, Jalen Hurts has thrown 10 interceptions so far this season.
This goes back to the Cowboys playing complementary football, including keeping the Eagles’ offense behind the sticks and Hurts under pressure.
Another concern is the amount of explosive plays the defense has allowed. Dallas has allowed over 300 passing yards against the Washington Commanders and Seahawks, which is a first for the unit this season. A significant reason for this is the number of explosive plays the defensive backs have let sneak through the cracks.
“You never like to see the explosive plays,” Quinn added. “To have the last couple of weeks where we’ve given up some is definitely an area of focus for us.”
Although multiple moving parts could impact the game, the Cowboys must act urgently to reduce the big plays come Sunday.
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