1664776037 Cowboys and their dominant defense continue to love Trevon Diggs

Cowboys and their dominant defense continue to love Trevon Diggs, even if the advanced stats don’t

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs grabbed the ball, his arm only slightly interrupting its trajectory.

That was enough to cause a pass that grazed the hands of Washington Commanders No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin, falling flat a fourth and second try that resulted in a turnover on downs as the Commanders came along 15 points and 2:45 to play behind.

Diggs had abandoned his third run of the day. The Cowboys would soon earn their third win of the season in tandem.

“Super huge,” Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons told Yahoo Sports in his locker after the 25-10 win. “He’s trying to show people, ‘Okay, I can play. But I also have to be a lockdown and disciplined corner.

“If you have a guy who has the best of both worlds, you get a Diggs.”

Many fans agree. And then: There are those who don’t.

The Cowboys third-year cornerback became a lightning rod for pundits last season as he led the league with 11 interceptions but also missed tackles and allowed intermittent big plays.

To some extent, Sunday’s stat line reflected this polarization.

Diggs undoubtedly made game-changing plays, beginning with an interception late in the second quarter. Diggs shadowed rookie receiver Jahan Dotson, who scored Washington’s only touchdown 46 yards downfield. But as the pass began to dip down, Diggs turned his head, extended his arms and rocked it powerfully to eliminate Washington’s last chance to lead into the half.

Diggs would also later break up two fourth-quarter passes destined for McLaurin, who had surpassed the 1,000-yard mark each of the past two seasons.

And yet a check of his Sunday boxing score seems almost wrong: zero solo tackles, zero assisted tackles, zero combined.

The same player who PFF has been touting Because Sunday allowed a 0.0 passer rating, he ranked 72nd on defensive grades for cornerbacks for three weeks. Diggs did only slightly better in cover and finished in 64th place.

“Everyone is bound to have their own opinion and how they feel about me,” Diggs said Sunday afternoon from his locker. “I know how I feel. My teammates know how I feel. My coaches know who I am.

The story goes on

“So I’ll just keep taping it.”

Two longtime defenders, Richard Sherman and 2009 second-round winner Darius Butler, joined the conversation on Sunday.

“A whole lot of pundits on CB play have been pretty quiet this season when it comes to play with 7,” Butler tweeted.

Sherman added: “Called GAME last week and booked Go balls this week. Looks like he’s going to answer every question this year. check box.

“Looks ELITE.”

Sherman, like everyone else, can judge that.

Not only has Sherman compiled five Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro honors over his 11-year career, he also helped defend Seattle’s Super Bowl winner Legion of Boom. The unit was coordinated by none other than current Cowboys coordinator Dan Quinn.

Diggs often watches Sherman’s video to understand how to maximize his role in Quinn’s system, he told Yahoo Sports. The two also communicate via texting and Instagram while Diggs seeks perks to hone his craft.

Trevon Diggs (7) doesn't love the numbers, but the Cowboys love his game during their 3-1 start.  (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Trevon Diggs (7) doesn’t love the numbers, but the Cowboys love his game during their 3-1 start. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I spoke to Richard beforehand, just got tips and everything,” Diggs said. “It’s a great honor just to hear from him and how he sees it.

“I see it, I look at the tape, I see how [the Legion of Boom] system was. We have all the parts to be just like this defense. If we keep going, at the pace we are at, we can do it.”

In big moments, especially when the game is at stake, Diggs upped the ante. In a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Diggs made each of the last two tackles, including a third and third try that fell two yards short.

Last week, he intercepted New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ final pass attempt in the 23-16 win over Dallas.

The Cowboys have not conceded more than a touchdown and 19 points in any of their first four games. Avarice represents the franchise’s highest marks over the past half-century.

“They’re the reason we win, it’s very simple,” said quarterback Cooper Rush, who Sunday became the first quarterback in franchise history to win his first four starts. “One of their messages is, ‘We all have our backs.’ You go the way.”

Diggs is far from the only hallmark of this effort, the Cowboys’ 15 sacks are only second in the league to the Philadelphia Eagles. Pass rushers like Parsons and veteran DeMarcus Lawrence have frustrated Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, New York Giants’ Daniel Jones and now Washington’s Carson Wentz.

“We know we’re up there,” Lawrence said after the game. “If you were a quarterback, you’d be nervous too.”

The cowboys also think they’re at the bottom. Both cornerbacks in the starting XI had interceptions, while safety Donovan Wilson recorded a game-high nine tackles, including a quarterback hit on a blitz.

And yet, team owner Jerry Jones expects the league’s attention to remain focused on Diggs’ 13 interceptions since the start of the 2021 season — and his unique coverage skills in any given matchup.

“There are two receivers out there,” Jones said. “I don’t want to be banal, but out there he becomes the receiver.

“Everyone in the whole league will be able to see that.”

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein