The Dallas Cowboys have been preaching turnovers for years. They’ve also been looking for safety play that could provide game-changing plays in the back end of the secondary. Well, the Cowboys may have finally found both of those things with the play of Safety Donovan Wilson in their win Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Donovan Wilson has been a player the many in the Cowboys fanbase have been hoping would get more playing time since he recorded three interceptions during his first preseason back in 2019. Unfortunately, however, it would take nearly a year and a half for Wilson to see a full-time role on the Dallas Cowboys defense.
On Sunday against, the Vikings, Wilson was flying around on defense and forced two fumbles that were recovered by the Cowboys.
Early in the game, Wilson was sent on a safety blitz and put a big hit on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. In the process of completing the sack, Wilson took the ball away from Cousins as the two fell to the ground. It was a brutal hit and a heads-up play to take the ball away from the Vikings quarterback.
Later in the game, as Kirk Cousins threw over the middle to Running Back Dalvin Cook, Wilson came from the deep middle and laid a huge hit on Cook after he caught the ball, forcing a fumble that would be recovered by Jaylon Smith.
Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson having a hell of a day pic.twitter.com/qDGUDfMc2O
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 22, 2020
Wilson showed off a physicality that has been lacking at times in the back end of the Cowboys defense. Count DeMarcus Lawrence as a believer in Wilson’s ability to bring the thunder from the back end of the defense.
Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence today following win: "Shoutout to Donovan Wilson, 37, if y'all don’t know… That’s our hit man. Keep throwing that (expletive) across the middle, he gon’ keep hitting. Trust me."
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 23, 2020
His penchant for playmaking begs the question, how come he couldn’t get on the field sooner?
Both the Jason Garrett and Mike McCarthy coaching regimes were reluctant to get Wilson on the field. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that the former Texas A&M safety began to see the field full-time. Sure, Wilson has his issues in coverage, but it wasn’t like Jeff Heath or Darian Thompson were showing off much ability in coverage situations.
And as the Cowboys continued to preach turnovers, they kept one of the more instinctual players they’ve had in their secondary on the bench for the last year and a half. Be it a failure in a system that leans on veterans or a coaching staff that isn’t sure what they have in a player, both the Rod Marinelli/Kris Richard and Mike Nolan regimes failed to realize the player they have in Donovan Wilson is the player they’ve been looking for all along.
Donovan Wilson now has three sacks on the season and three forced fumbles. Though he’s yet to get an interception, he’s been a force for the Cowboys secondary.
And it would be different if they had a player that was a legitimate difference-maker at safety over the last couple of years, but the guys they have had at the position are just that; guys. From Xavier Woods to Jeff Heath to Darian Thompson, the Cowboys trotted out players who failed to provide the kind of impact that Wilson has since being named a starter.
The two forced fumbles and the physicality in which he plays the position is a welcomed sight. Donovan Wilson, in his second season, is proving to be a playmaker for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s unfortunate that we had to wait until week four of his second season to see him as a starter for the Cowboys.