Turnovers keep on coming for the Cowboys defense.
Talk to any defensive coach and they’ll tell you that takeaways are the lifeblood of winning football. And no NFL team did that better in 2021 than the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas created 34 of them last season, with 26 of those coming as interceptions. The Cowboys went 12-5 and won the NFC East.
See how that works?
Trevon Diggs, of course, had an incredible season, tying Everson Walls’ record of 11 picks in a season. But nine other Cowboys had at least one interception.
Diggs toted an impressive weight, but he had help.
The Cowboys carried that new tradition into Friday’s 27-26 preseason win over Seattle. The Cowboys picked off Seattle quarterbacks four times. The part that sticks out is that the four Cowboys that picked off passes — rookie Markquese Bell, Nahshon Wright, Israel Mukuamu and rookie Juanyeh Thomas — did not record an interception for the Cowboys last season.
Cowboys’ final 53-man roster projection: Tough decisions at RB, rookie TE makes the cut - Jon Machota, The Athletic
Who makes the cut, who doesn’t?
Running back (3)
Not keeping Rico Dowdle was difficult, but Davis has just played too well in the preseason for the Cowboys to let the undrafted rookie go. Maybe they find a way to keep both. In the three preseason games, Davis has rushed 31 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 27 yards.
Wide receiver (7)
With Washington expected to be placed on injured reserve and Gallup unlikely to play early in the season, Lamb, Brown and Tolbert are the favorites to be the Week 1 starters. Fehoko, Houston and Turpin should also factor into the offense immediately as reserves. There are a lot of questions with the offseason losses of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson. It’s not difficult to predict that opponents are going to try to take away Lamb and make the others beat them.
What stood out to you from the Cowboys preseason finale?
Sam Williams is the real deal
After losing out on re-signing defensive end Randy Gregory, the Cowboys used a second-round pick on pass rusher Sam Williams. The rookie has looked solid in training camp, but he had his best preseason game against the Seahawks.
Williams got his first NFL sack and was constantly pressuring the Seahawks quarterbacks, adding a QB hit in the game. The strength of Williams’ game is his power, which was how he picked up the sack, but his speed off the ball was on display as well.
The edge rusher out of Mississippi was also stout in the run game, adding two tackles for a loss.
Williams played most of the game, a sign that the team wanted to see what he was capable of, and the rookie came through with flying colors.
It appears that the defense will be counting on Williams more than anticipated, and he looked like a real contributor against the Seahawks, who played their starting offensive line.
Cowboys 2nd-round pick Sam Williams one of 3 stars of the game vs Seahawks - Mike Crum, Cowboys Wire
Sam Williams is starting to look like the real deal.
Star No. 3: Sam Williams
Williams found himself against a familiar foe in Seahawks rookie left tackle Charles Cross and just like in college, Williams found a lot of success. Mississippi State’s Cross called him the best defender he ever faced during the pre-draft process and Ole Miss’ Williams spent a lot of time reminding Cross what a problem he can be.
This was a breakout game for the Cowboys second-round pick, as he was able to finally get production to go with his solid play. Williams has found himself in the backfield, moving offensive tackles into the lap of quarterbacks all preseason, but he was unable to complete the plays in the first two outings. He ended the game versus the Seahawks night with his first sack, five tackles, two for a loss, a QB hit, and five additional pressures.
The big plays Williams made were at clutch times as well. His quarterback sack of Geno Smith was the eighth play of the first drive where Seattle was in the red zone just one play prior. The sack made Seattle have to settle for a 50-plus-yard field goal.
Hopefully the Cowboys learned from the past situation with Tony Romo.
The Dallas Cowboys are in a tough spot with Tyron Smith expected to miss the majority — if not the entire — 2022 NFL season. Dallas already has question marks along the offensive line. Losing an All-Pro talent like Smith does no favors.
Fortunately, this is not unfamiliar territory for the Cowboys.
According to Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, the Cowboys can look back on a recent example on how to handle a situation like this. Jones compares Tyron Smith going down to Tony Romo going down during the 2016 preseason.
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