Not so long ago, the Dallas Cowboys were a hot mess on the defensive side of the field; they couldn't get a stop to save their lives. And then Dan Quinn came to save the day.
Of course, adding one of the most talented and versatile players in this game's history in Micah Parsons has helped a lot, but Quinn's great eye for talent and timely adjustments also deserves plenty of credit.
Quinn shifted his defensive personnel throughout the season, especially in the final weeks, with multiple positions up for grabs as they headed to the playoffs.
Notably, former Iowa standout Chauncey Golston made the most of every chance he got, especially after racking up a couple of healthy DNPs throughout the season.
Golston Worked His Way Up
Having played college football in Iowa, Golston is very much cherished in the Hawkeye state, helping to increase the popularity of the Cowboys among Iowa's most popular NFL teams.
Despite getting completely torched by Sam Howell and the Washington Commanders in the regular season finale, Golston was one of the few bright spots for America's Team in that embarrassing game.
He locked up their running game, all while playing slightly out of position.
Golston isn't exactly the physical specimen you'd expect to play as an interior defender, but his quick first step and ability to make adjustments on the fly were more than enough to disrupt the Commanders' offensive line.
Golston recorded six run stops and a game-high eleven tackles, also stopping Jonathan Williams short of a first down when they were still down by just one score.
Of course, some took that effort with a grain of salt because the Commanders didn't play Antonio Gibson or Brian Robinson, but he kept the foot on the gas when Quinn gave him the nod and a chance to shine against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“He's been doing what they've been wanting him to do,” nose tackle Johnathan Hankins said of Golston.
“I'm happy for him. Really just playing with his hands, not thinking too much. He's letting the game come to him. I've been telling him since I've been here, ‘Bro, nobody should be able to block you,' with his length and the way he can play. Now, he's just doing it. Now, he's just got to do it consistently, and I think he will.”
The Cowboys made it a point of emphasis to be better against the run this season, especially knowing the road to the NFC Championship Game would run through either the Philadelphia Eagles or San Francisco 49ers.
“I think that the 49er game last year made us revisit the bulk that we had in the middle of our defensive front, and we did revisit it and we have revisited it continually,” Jones said.
So, even though their season ended abruptly again, Golston surely did more than enough to turn some heads and earn the respect of his teammates and coaching staff.
He proved that he's the kind of player they've craved for years.
There's still work to do
But as you may know by now, everything's earned, and nothing is given in the National Football League, so Golston needs to keep on the hard work if he wants to play a prominent role on their defense going forward.
“First of all, I'm just happy for DQ for drafting me,” Golston said. “For me, I guess I'm heading into more of a direction that he saw on draft night. I'm just really thankful for that. I'm ready for the challenge.”
Once again, the Cowboys enter the offseason with more questions than answers, and Dan Quinn might leave to take an HC job somewhere else.
So, as good as Golston was, he's not in the clear just yet.