FRISCO – In Quinton Bohanna’s very first interview after being drafted in April by the Dallas Cowboys, he referred to himself as a “plug.”
More recently, fellow interior D-lineman newcomer Brent Urban did much the same, touting himself as a guy who “does the dirty work.”
Along with another new guy, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, they are determined to fix Dallas’ notoriously poor run defense …
One “dirty plug” at a time.
READ MORE: 3 Cowboys Breakout Stars in 2021
“I do a good job being stout up front, taking on double teams and doing the dirty work to allow those guys to run free,” Urban said, via the team’s website. “That’s part of the reason I came here. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to continue to do that and help elevate this defense and allow the athletes to be athletes.”
“The athletes,” of course, are the guys who aren’t 6-8 (like Urban) and who aren’t 350 pounds (like Bohanna). They play inside, maybe even at nose tackle. They occupy blockers. They wrestle. They eat up space.
“It’s for sure playing the run, being physical, being a plug in the middle, and letting the guys behind me run free and make plays,” the Kentucky rookie Bohanna said when asked what the strongest part of his game is. “But also, I can add to my athleticism and make plays myself when need be,” he continued.
The Cowboys last year allowed 100 yards or more rushing 14 times in 16 games. Is Urban a magical solution? Is Bohanna?
“Magic” probably isn’t the word for it, no.
Urban comes here on a one-year contract. He is a native of Canada and a seven-year NFL veteran who, unless you are a particular fan of watching the Baltimore Ravens or the Chicago Bears stop the run in recent years, you have surely never heard of.
Bohanna’s college career? Same story. He wasn’t selected until Round 6 and outside of some colorful quotes, again, don’t feel bad if you don’t know him.
“I just wanted the opportunity. I just knew one team and one team was interested in me. I’m going to take full advantage of the opportunity. It wasn’t stressful at all,” Bohanna said at rookie minicamp of having to wait till Day 3 to hear his name be called. “Picks don’t matter. I got something to prove to the coaching staff that I can come in here and contribute to this defense.”
Urban has sort of made a living out of being colorless – and has embraced the concept of selflessness.
“You’ve got to,” Urban said.
READ MORE: 2 Worries Left For Dak?
“It’s not flashy, but you can identify the great defenses doing that job. It’s an important job. It’s one that takes a selfless individual to do. That’s something I pride myself on. I just want to win. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I understand with my size and attributes, that’s what I’m good at.”
And it’s what Dallas has been poor at. Urban and Bohanna are about to battle for snaps in training camp in Oxnard. And then maybe they’ll help the Cowboys battle opposing rushing attacks.