The Dallas Cowboys defense struggled on Sunday, allowing over 400 yards (222 rushing) to the Arizona Cardinals in their first loss of the season.
While the unit did not play to expectations as a whole, defensive back DaRon Bland impressed the coaching staff.
“I thought he was one of the guys that stood out to me in a really solid and strong way,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn told the media during a press conference on Monday. “I’ve always been impressed by DaRon’s tackling, and I saw that on display again yesterday.”
Bland has primarily played the nickel position for the Cowboys since joining the team as a fifth-round draft pick last season but moved outside after the season-ending injury to Trevon Diggs.
“For him to move outside without a lot of work doing that, I thought that was a real sign of what he’s up for,” Quinn continued. “He’s always down for the challenge. We’d been working him with some outside, but once you get into the season, you kind of fall into your normal rhythm. After practice Thursday was when we made the move [for him] to go full-time outside, so I was pleased with what I saw from him.”
“I thought he graded out well,” head coach Mike McCarthy added. “He’s super consistent. [He] Battled. I thought he was one of the brighter spots on defense.”
Bland started Sunday’s contest in place of Diggs and finished with five tackles as Jourdan Lewis moved into the nickel role. Bland is off to a great start in his second season in the league, coming up with an interception returned for a touchdown in the season opener against the New York Giants and allowing just six catches so far this season.
While it didn’t translate to a win on Sunday, his playing style fits the defense well.
“I kind of think he’s a little bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Quinn remarked. “This is a really good competitor. … He’s always just been so consistent and so steady. He’s really one of our glue guys because you can really count on him to get it done, whether he’s playing outside or inside. He’s certainly going to go do that again.”
— The Cowboys want to fix their offensive red zone problems but aren’t overly worried. Dallas has scored touchdowns on just 40% of its red zone possessions this season after finding the endzone on 71.43% of its red zone possessions last year.
— Former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson weighed in on the loss of Trevon Diggs.
— Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones said he was hospitalized and placed in a “behavioral health” facility against his will. He has also accused the team of knowing about it and doing nothing to help him.
— Police are investigating the death of former NFL receiver Mike WIlliams because of the potential involvement of “unprescribed drugs.”
— An arrest warrant has been issued for Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson in Massachusetts for failing to pay a fine or appear in court after a 2021 speeding incident.
— The Cincinnati Bengals inducted former quarterback Boomer Esiason and former wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson into their Ring of Honor on Monday night.
— The New York Jets are expected to sign quarterback Trevor Siemian.
— Genius Sports is releasing an app that allows bettors to make live bets and features live NFL game streams.