Comparing the new-look Dallas Cowboys to the 2020 version is like night and day. After years of not living up to lofty expectations, Dallas finally looks like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Cornerback Trevon Diggs is one of the most improved players on the team, he sees a big difference in the Cowboys in 2021.
Diggs’ revelation explains why these Cowboys can compete for a Super Bowl at the end of the season.
The 2020 season was one to forget for the Dallas Cowboys
The 2020 NFL season didn’t go as planned for the Dallas Cowboys. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore‘s offense was rolling through the first few weeks of the season. However, Dak Prescott‘s season-ending leg injury derailed the momentum.
While the offense played well, the defense didn’t enjoy nearly as much success. Even before Prescott went down, the unit was giving up big plays left and right to opposing offenses.
Any fight Dallas had to start the season vanished once its star quarterback suffered his injury. Andy Dalton was not a capable replacement, and the rest of the offense failed as a result. Ezekiel Elliott had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2020.
The Cowboys finished the season ranked No. 28 in total defense. The unit allowed 386.4 yards and 29.5 points per game to opposing teams.
After losing their two-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the season, the Cowboys lost their fight and ended the season with a 6-10 record.
Trevon Diggs believes this is a changed football team
Without Dak Prescott under center for most of the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys were a mediocre football team.
Fast forward to Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season, and the Cowboys are now one of the best teams in the league. They have proven that one year can make all the difference.
The emergence of second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs has been a pleasant surprise for Dan Quinn‘s defense. In a recent interview with NFL Network’s Michael Irvin, Diggs talked about the difference between the Cowboys from 2020 to 2021.
Diggs said this is a “completely different” Cowboys team. “Everything’s different. How we operate is different,” he added. “It feels like a real team.”
The Alabama product has taken the next step as an NFL corner. His playmaking ability has done wonders for Dallas’ defense.
Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons added that there’s a “bunch of go-getters” on the defensive side of the football. “Every day in practice, we talk about finding ways to get the ball back to our offense and who’s going to be the guy,” he said. “I think everybody’s been trying to fight for their jersey the opportunity to be a starter on this team.”
This team has a new swagger that didn’t exist in 2020. The change in mindset seems to be a catalyst for the Cowboys’ success through the first eight weeks of the season.
The Cowboys are legitimate Super Bowl contenders
Could the 2021 Dallas Cowboys actually be for real? The simple answer is yes.
Mike McCarthy’s squad is off to a fantastic start. Dallas currently has a 6-1 record, heading into Week 9. The Cowboys look like the best team in the NFC right now.
Kellen Moore’s offense has been firing on all cylinders, with Dak Prescott back in the fold. The quarterback missed the team’s Week 8 game against the Vikings, but backup Cooper Rush led the Cowboys to victory.
When on the field, Prescott has played at an MVP level. Ezekiel Elliott is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards and has reached the end zone five times. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb have been reliable weapons and form one of the league’s best wide receiver duos.
The biggest surprise for Dallas so far is the defense. The team fired defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and replaced him with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. Through the first seven games, the difference is evident.
Trevon Diggs has recorded seven interceptions in seven games and also leads the NFL in pass breakups. He’s the early favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Micah Parsons looks like an absolute stud, too.
With the opportunistic defense taking a step forward and the offense rolling, this will be a difficult team to beat, if healthy.
The NFC is tight, but Dallas has just as good a chance as any team to make it to Super Bowl LV.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference