The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL in takeaways through three weeks, a remarkable stat considering how desperate their need for help in the secondary was this offseason. Not only did they wait until the 44th overall pick to add a raw but talented player in Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph, but Joseph has begun his Cowboys career on injured reserve dealing with a hamstring injury suffered in training camp.
Veteran Anthony Brown has started across from NFC Defensive Player of the Month Trevon Diggs. Diggs playing as a shutdown corner has forced teams to thrown at Brown, and with good results. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown has given up 18 catches on 24 targets against the Bucs, Chargers, and Eagles.
All three games have called for the Cowboys opponent to throw the ball – either in an effort to keep up with or catch the Cowboys offense and their own elite passing game. The Cowboys draw Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers today, playing their first game without star RB Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers will lean on DJ Moore and Terrace Marshall in the quick passing game against Dan Quinn's defense.
With Joseph on IR, the Cowboys have a three week window to work the rookie back into practice and then promote him to the active roster. Playing in just 15 college games, Joseph needs live reps before he's truly ready to help the NFC East leaders in meaningful games. While he may be a few weeks away from seeing gameday, adding him to the practice lineup soon would be a big step.
Quinn's defense has shown early on that playing time is up for grabs with players shifting positions and the Cowboys lining up in multiple fronts. In what appears to be another down year for the rest of the division, Dallas can show how wide the gap is between them and the Eagles – who they defeated by 20 on Monday Night Football – against one of the league's remaining unbeaten teams today.
They'll return to division play against the Giants the following week, and could be looking at adding Joseph to the lineup at the Patriots or Vikings in the weeks after. Brown shouldn't be the only player focused on earning continued playing time, as the Cowboys are hopeful they'll add Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore to the defensive line rotation in the following weeks as well.