Diggs Vs. Julio? Cowboys Rookie 'Has Earned Starting Job,' Says McCarthy

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - We live in a "Bulletin-Board Material World,'' so Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy's confidence-boosting praise of rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs will no doubt be misinterpreted into an insult. 

"I don’t have any hesitations playing the young man,'' said McCarthy, who was careful to make sure it is understood that his support of the idea of Diggs covering the likes of Atlanta's Julio Jones is in no way meant as disrespect to the All-Pro wide receiver of the Falcons. 

Diggs "has earned a starting cornerback position,'' McCarthy said, "for so many good reasons.”

Diggs, the second-round rookie out of Alabama, played all 73 defensive snaps (and a bunch of the Cowboys’ special-teams snaps, too) as he inched his way to the top of the totem pole at cornerback.

He was ready.

“They say that you need those preseason games, but at the end of the day I feel like football is football,'' Diggs said before his NFL debut. “You go out there, line up, if you can do it, you can do it. If you can't, you can't. You just get thrown in the fire, and if you can handle it, you can handle it.''

The Cowboys believe he can handle it.

In the 20-17 loss at the Rams, Diggs showed himself to be sticky in coverage, willing as a tackler, as we've seen all summer, possessive of receiver-like ball skills. He nearly recorded an interception on a tipped ball ... and the Cowboys feel confident that over the course of his career, plenty of footballs are going to end up in his hands, as they have so often here inside The Star at training camp and in practice.

On the depth chart, Diggs joins Anthony Brown as the starting cornerbacks, with Chidobe Awuzie in reserve. The Cowboys also have a host of guys who work at slot-corner, including Daryl Worley (who started last week) and Jourdan Lewis (coming off an injury this week). They've also talked of having Awuzie play some safety.

In addition to Diggs' much-ballyhooed ball skills, "He has patience and calmness in coverage,''McCarthy said as 0-1 Dallas prepares to host Julio Jones (and fellow standout wide receiver Calvin Ridley) and the 0-1 Atlanta Falcons in a noon start Sunday at AT&T Stadium. He understands route-running. ... He shows maturity in coverage. He's a very confident young man.”

And with these words, Trevon Diggs probably gained even more confidence ... and maybe Julio Jones gained a bit of inspiration.

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