Fresh off an important reemergence of QB1, and an important fifth win of the season, the Dallas Cowboys shift their focus to another middling team they will want to take care of business against. Insert Justin Fields and the pedestrian Chicago Bears making the trip to Arlington for a week eight matchup. This game is important for the Cowboys. It allows them to be on a two-game win streak and head into the much earned bye week feeling good about themselves at 6-2.
The Bears team is flawed, to put it mildly. They have talent sprinkled around the roster but as they head into week eight they are 3-4 and are clearly dealing with some growing pains with the young quarterback and first time head coach Matt Eberflus. The Bears offensive line is one of the worst in the entire league and the wide receiver room is simply absent real sustainable talent to work with. All that put together with the Cowboys QB hungry pass rush and opportunist secondary equals a bad recipe for this Bears team coming to town.
Speaking of the secondary, the Cowboys will be without the services of Jourdan Lewis for the remainder of the season as he had surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his foot. DaRon Bland, the fifth round rookie out of Fresno State, has an opportunity now and that is why he is this week’s easy pick for underrated star.
Week 8 underrated star
All indications going forward is that the slot cornerback position is DaRon Bland’s responsibility. Bland will look to come in and keep stability at an important position for this Cowboys defense. Jourdan Lewis has been manning the position for years, and while he doesn't get same praise as some of his other teammates, Lewis has been a quietly important cog in this defensive secondary. Bland will have his hands full moving forward and although he has shown promise throughout camp and early in his rookie year, this is an important role he is about to take on for this Cowboys team.
Ladies & gentlemen…@DaRon_Bland #DallasCowboys— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 4, 2022
: #DALvsLAR ➡️ @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/ywKUBtZ5Ce
Slot cornerback often draws one of the toughest matchups for any corner on the field. Usually the slot wide receiver is manned by a shifty route runner who is given two way go’s and choice routes making for a tough assignment for anybody covering them. Players like our very own CeeDee Lamb have made a massive early career impact out of that position. One of the leagues very best, Cooper Kupp, lives in that position to really pick on secondaries with his shiftiness and rapport with the quarterback.
Bland has a start under his belt and that came in less than ideal circumstances as well as he was made aware mere minutes before kickoff that he would get the nod when Lewis injured himself in pregame warm ups. Bland responded well to that challenge and sealed the Commanders fate with an interception in his first career start. The Cowboys are hoping to see more of the same going forward.
Where Bland can be the underrated star for week eight and beyond is if he is able to come in and stabilize the position. He doesn’t need to be perfect or do too much, just understand his assignment, lean on the veterans around him, and compete. This Cowboys team is primed to make a run this year and all of their goals for the 2022 season are very much in front of them, and a lot of that has to do with the play of the secondary and the defensive unit as a whole. Bland will look to add to the success. It is a big spot for the rookie and we are all excited to see what he does with this opportunity.