DaRon 'Pick-6' Bland Sets 'Hardest-Ever' Goals - Sport News

DaRon ‘Pick-6’ Bland Sets ‘Hardest-Ever’ Goals

In just one season, Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland became a household name among NFL fans.

DaRon Bland's Latest Big Game Is Huge For the Cowboys' Future - D Magazine

The 2022 fifth-round pick began the year as the Cowboys’ No. 3 cornerback behind All-Pros Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore, but after the former went down for the season, Bland stepped up in a big way. The Fresno State product recorded a league-high nine interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns to set an NFL record.

After such a remarkable second season, Bland was named a first-team All-Pro and finalist for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Although Bland didn’t win the award, losing out to Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the entire season was an experience he’ll never forget.

“I just tried to have a lot of fun with it,” Bland said, per the Cowboys’ site. But I definitely thought I had a shot with the season that I had. But it was cool to just be there.”

Coming into 2024, though, Bland has a different set of goals in mind. While he obviously wants to build on the remarkable season he just completed, his main focus is on helping the team finally get over the playoff hump.

“I’m thinking about a little bit of everything,” Bland said. “It’s hard to put out some personal goals right now after last season. It’s really important for us to focus on our team goals right now.”

The Cowboys’ defense was one of the best in the league throughout the entire season, finishing fifth in both points and yards allowed. In the embarrassing Wild Card Round loss to the Green Bay Packers, though, that strong defense allowed 415 yards and a season-high 48 points in a complete exposure.

Dallas’ defense will see plenty of changes next season with a new defensive coordinator in Mike Zimmer and a revamped secondary, with Bland likely to start opposite Diggs due to Gilmore hitting free agency.

Bland isn’t afraid of the looming changes, though. If anything, he’s embracing them.

“That’s great for me. My hardest coach ever was my dad,” Bland said of Zimmer. “To me, nobody would ever be harder on me than him. I’m just excited to get started again.”

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