Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs had a tough assignment this past Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Ja’Marr Chase coming to town. Cincinnati’s top receiver made things spicier leading up to the game with his comment about the lack of technique by the Diggs, putting their matchup under an even bigger microscope.
According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs passed his test with flying colors by holding Chase to two receptions for 14-yards.
But, one could argue his best plays didn’t come via coverage.
It came through one of the most fundamental aspects of football: tackling.
The Bengals had the ball on their 12 with a 2nd and 6 with two minutes to play. Diggs stopped Bengals’ running back, Joe Mixon, for a gain of just three yards. On the next play, Diggs immediately recognized the out route to Bengals slot receiver Tyler Boyd and used his speed to accelerate forward.
Diggs subsequently pounced on Boyd and made a spectacular open-field tackle that forced a punt.
The playmaking skills of Diggs when it comes to taking the ball away are well documented. However, seeing as Diggs has only played the cornerback position full-time since 2017, he’s still learning all the aspects of it, and becoming a good open-field tackler is certainly something he needs to get down to be a complete player.
This is a great place to start. With the game hanging in the balance, Diggs displayed a skill that has often been looked at as one of his deficiencies to help seal the Cowboys’ first win of the season.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Cowboys’ linebacker, Micah Parsons, stole the show against the Bengals by making his former teammate, La’el Collins, look like he was a rookie by racking two sacks, giving him the most in the first 18 games of a career in NFL history. However, Diggs and his huge tackle on third down during the Bengals’ final possession are what put the Cowboys in a position to steal the game at the end, and Parsons gave him high praise for rising to the occasion.
“That was huge, said Parsons. “We even said that was the hardest we’ve ever seen Diggs tackle. He shot out like a cannon. I was proud of him.
“When I saw [No.] 7, I was shocked. That was huge momentum. Way to get off the field.”
Sometimes a player has to reach deep down and affect a game in a different way than what they are accustomed to. Diggs did just that with his timely tackling at the most critical time of the game against the Bengals, and if his progression in this area intertwines with his coverage ability regularly, there’s no limit to how good he will eventually be.
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