The Dallas Cowboys have struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball this season. Currently, they ranked 29th in yards allowed and give up a league-worst 36 points per game.
A very important link on the Cowboys defensive chain could be making his return on Monday night vs the Arizona Cardinals, and that's Linebacker Leighton Esch. He's ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken collarbone that he suffered early in the Cowboys season opener vs the Los Angeles Rams. Although he's back on the practice field, the Cowboys will be cautious about his return, as team Owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Friday.
“He will not go back out there if he's vulnerable in any way, inordinately vulnerable, as to certainly the injury that he has dealt with. I'll assure you of that,” Jones said. “You can bet if he hits the field that he has complete go and a solid go to go out.
“We would not risk additional injury because of that injury, whether it's where he was injured or how he's playing because he was injured. So, all of that you can feel real good (that) if you see him on the field, he should be out there.”
Cowboys COO Stephen Jones also joined The Fan on Friday and echoed the words of his father.
“Leighton, we feel like has a great opportunity, it'll be a game-time decision. But, boy, he sure looked really good out there,” Jones said. “He only played half a game, so we got to be careful working him back into the mix. Hopefully, he's a go and we can get him significant playing time.”
After a strong practice on Thursday, Vander Esch had another impressive outing on Friday, and his right-hand man Jaylon Smith said he looked like his old self.
“He looks like the Wolf Hunter himself,” Smith said. “I’m happy to have him back out here working, just grinding it away. Just excited for him.
“I’m just happy that he’s out here doing what he loves. We’ll see if they let him go.”
If Vander Esch is to return on Monday night the Cowboys hope he can return to his 2018 form when he was an All-Pro as a rookie and get this defensive unit to be a respectable one.