‘Of all people, you test him:’ Cowboys not surprised CB Trevon Diggs made WFT pay early

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Everson Walls, the Cowboys’ single-season interception leader, was in attendance at AT&T Stadium Sunday night to see if cornerback Trevon Diggs might have a chance to tie his 1981 record of 11 picks.

He didn’t have to wait long.

Washington tested Diggs on the Football Team’s first play from scrimmage, targeting wide receiver Terry McLaurin on a deep ball. Despite rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph making his first NFL start on the opposite side, WFT quarterback Taylor Heinicke went after Diggs. Forty-three yards down the field, the Alabama product caught the pass like it had been intended for him all along.

It was an electrifying way for the Cowboys defense to start the game. And it came as something of a shock to nearly every Dallas player in the building.

Including Diggs.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m still ready at the end of the day. They wanted to try me, first play,” he told reporters in a Q&A session after the game.

Washington even came back at Diggs again on the very next series. The league’s interceptions leader took it personally.

“I felt like, ‘Wow, they really just did that,’ so it gave me a little bit more to go out there and just put on my best.”

“It was mind-boggling for me,” safety Jayron Kearse said. “Of all people, you test him.”

“I feel like they were in a position to try to give us their best shot, and they wanted to come out the gates and do that,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence added. “That was their best shot tonight, it failed them, so shout-out to Trevon for catching the interception.”

“You should see practice. He does it that in practice,” tight end Dalton Schultz explained. “It’s almost like the quarterback is throwing it to him. When stuff like that happens, it’s happened so much, we’re probably used to it by now.”

“It was huge,” head coach Mike McCarthy told the media. “I see what they’re trying to do, come out and challenge him early. I’ve said it before: as a quarterback coach, you call them 50/50 balls, but I don’t know if it’s quite 50/50 when he’s around, that’s for sure. He’s incredible when the ball’s in the air. Incredible.”

“Why? Why would you try him on the first play?” quarterback Dak Prescott asked. “But I hope they continue to do that. He’s a great player and congrats to him on tying the record and looking forward to him beating the record.”

With two more games to play, Diggs will have ample opportunity to take sole possession of the franchise mark that’s stood for 40 years.

Sunday night’s interception came literally seconds after a shot of the legendary Walls was shown to the Cowboys crowd on the stadium’s giant video board.

“I didn’t know he was at the game,” Diggs said of the four-time Pro Bowler and three-time league interceptions leader. “It’s funny how everything just aligns. That’s amazing.”

With two more interceptions, Diggs would reach 13 and tie the Raiders’ Lester Hayes for the most picks in a season since the NFL-AFL merger. The all-time record is 14, posted by Dick “Night Train” Lane in 1952. (Astonishingly, Lane did it as a rookie… and in just 12 games.)

But don’t put any of it past Diggs, the way his 2021 has gone. He nabbed seven picks in the first six games of the season. No one else has even topped that total yet; Diggs has gone on to get four more en route to his first Pro Bowl nod.

And with three of those interceptions coming in the last four contests, it’s looking like he’s getting on another hot streak.

“The sky’s the limit,” Diggs said with a grin, “so we’ll see.”

“Yeah, the sky is not for limit for Trevon,” Lawrence said. “He still has two more games to boost his record, and I feel like he’s gonna keep doing it.”

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