When the Dallas Cowboys star defender Trevon Diggs went down with an injury, second-year cornerback DaRon Bland stepped up and filled his shoes. The Cowboys had another obliterating beatdown game against the Patriots, 38-3. It was an opportunity for Bland to see if he can answer the call after an embarrassing loss to Arizona last week. Bland did just that by walking away with two interceptions, one including a pick-six.
During the 2022 season, Bland was the man at nickelback filling in the need, and has been excelling ever since. He recorded eight interceptions thus far in his career but is focusing on what he can fill in for Diggs. However, it’s the adversity that he answers and comes out on top when it counts. This is what the Cowboys’ defense did by keeping quarterback Mac Jones, on his heels all game.
DaRon reflected more about his role after the game, “You gotta get comfortable in the role, it’s a big role to take over. I was just trying to fill his outside role. You know to know our defense, because everybody can move everywhere. I can play outside, I just had to make sure and not forget that part of it.”
DaRon Bland Fills In Seamlessly For Injured Trevon Diggs
Why He Fits So Well
There’s no doubt that when the pressure mounts, Bland steps up when the moment arrives. The 2022 first-rounder finds tremendous success in Big D when the opportunity is there. Now, he gets to start every week on the Cowboys’ defense to prove his worth and add to his resume. Despite his rough outing against Arizona, it seems like he’s back on track to be useful in the playoffs.
However, it seems like every time the shoes are being filled, the replacements don’t always step up during playoff time. Diggs will definitely still be a crucial loss, but Bland will continue to learn from Stephon Gilmore and be ready. Just three weeks ago, Bland had another pick-six against the Giants, so there’s no doubt in his abilities.
It’s like the Dallas Cowboys were left with a puzzle pack and needed a backup piece, but Bland was that missing piece that fit well. Let’s get this straight, it’s not only the stats he’s putting up, but the impactful plays Bland leaves on the field.
To the CRIB with @DaRon_Bland 🏡
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 1, 2023
It’s His Moment
DaRon Bland is now in the spotlight in his second year as a cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys. He was entering this season as the bonafide member of the Cowboys’ secondary finishing in the top 10 in interceptions. Now, it’s his time for him to play lights out the rest of his journey for Diggs. Bland is carrying that torch firmly and can carry the young no-fly zone secondary all the way.
Mike McCarthy shared some thoughts about Bland’s abilities, “Very comfortable in DaRon, very confident. He has always stepped and played. He’s very professional for a young player, and this is an opportunity that he’ll take the challenge.”
As devastating as the Diggs injury left the Cowboys distraught, they are in a good place with Bland. The cornerback is still fresh and young so he can be ready to go for many years for the franchise. A young player like that who has been getting praise and never flinching is a rare gem. Bland may very well be ready for any test on the road, especially in the playoffs.
The Next Big Test For DaRon Bland
Bland is in for a tough road test when he arrives in Santa Clara. It’s the battle of the NFC powerhouses under Sunday Night Lights on NBC and Dallas needs to shut the lights out. However, the test does look challenging for Bland when he goes up against both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.
The anticipation is on fire more than ever for the formidable defense, fans will expect the Cowboys to put up big numbers as the game is expected to go back and forth. Both teams have history where the Cowboys lost in a heartbreaker in the divisional round against the 49ers, 19-12. If momentum ever needs to be shifted is now in their upcoming game. Fans are eager to see if Bland can keep tying those laces on nationwide television.
Main Photo: Kevin Jairaj – USA Today Sports