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Dallas Cowboys: Backup Quarterback Still A Concern?

The 2015 season for the Dallas Cowboys was a complete disaster and the majority of the blame can be placed squarely on the backup quarterback situation. Once Tony Romo went down not once, but twice with a broken clavicle, we pretty much knew that the season was on the line. Who was actually comfortable knowing that Brandon Weeden was a backup behind Romo heading into the 2015 season? I know I wasn’t. I thought it was an absolute mistake by the organization.

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: Backup Quarterback Still A Concern?

The 2015 season for the Dallas Cowboys was a complete disaster and the majority of the blame can be placed squarely on the backup quarterback situation. Once Tony Romo went down not once, but twice with a broken clavicle, we pretty much knew that the season was on the line.

Who was actually comfortable knowing that Brandon Weeden was a backup behind Romo heading into the 2015 season? I know I wasn't. I thought it was an absolute mistake by the organization.

As it turns out, I was right. They did however try to remedy their failure and traded for Matt Cassel, but again that didn't work out either.

Finally, they turned to Kellen Moore, but only after the season was all but finished and they really had nothing left to play for.

Again, I'm getting that feeling like I had last year when I found out Weeden was the backup QB. Are the Cowboys really going to rely on Kellen Moore to back up Tony Romo?

Well, according to Rob Phillips, a Senior Writer for the Dallas Cowboys, that is exactly the plan so far.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jerry Jones on @1053thefan about his confidence in Kellen Moore backing up Romo at QB: "He's got the instincts. He's got the anticipation.

I can't say that I really agree or disagree at this point, but it does leave me a little worried considering the fact that Romo has had a hard time remaining healthy.

There is still a lot of time to analyze this position throughout the remainder of the off-season and I for one will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the QBs on the roster to see who is best suited to step in if needed.

Here is how I think the Cowboys see things right now…

Kellen Moore, QB (6'0", 200)

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: Backup Quarterback Still A Concern? 2If you believe Jerry Jones, then Kellen Moore is number two on the depth chart and would likely be the backup QB if the season was starting today.

In 2015, Moore played in three games and started two of those contests. He completed 61 of 104 passes for a completions percentage of 58.7. He threw for 779 passing yards, four touchdowns, and six interceptions.

His best game was against the Washington Redskins, the final game of the season, where he completed 33 of 48 passes for 435 yards. He also threw for three touchdowns and two interceptions.

A lot of the belief that Moore is capable of being the backup QB is based on the Washington game and that is understandable after suffering through porous play from the position the majority of the year.

I however am worried that it's a mistake. I'm not a big fan, even though he knows the offense having been with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan since entering a league.

He is a pocket passer with very limited mobility and limited arm strength to make all the throws. His size or lack of size, is worrisome. If he takes a big hit will he to be lost due to injury?

Despite my concerns though, it looks as if the Cowboys are willing to gamble that he is the best option at this time, but I don't think for a second that they won't be looking for a better option at some point.

Jameill Showers, QB (6'1", 230)

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: Backup Quarterback Still A Concern? 4Showers is someone that I'm really intrigued by. I think he showed a lot of poise last year during the preseason when he got the opportunity to play and I would like to see what he's able to do after a year of development in the Cowboys system.

In all honesty, I really wanted to see him get the chance to play at the end of the season last year when the Cowboys didn't have much to play for any more.

As of right now, I think the Cowboys have him third on the depth chart, but I think I actually like him just as much as Kellen Moore, if not a little more.

Showers showed during the preseason last year that he not only as the arm strength to make all the throws, but he has the poise to stand in the pocket and make a throw despite pressure being applied by the defense. He also shows the mobility to move the pocket and buy time to make a pass downfield and can also be a threat as a scrambling QB.

There are a lot of things that I like about Showers game and I hope that he gets the opportunity to display how much he has improved in a years time.

Dak Prescott, QB (6'2", 226)

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys: Backup Quarterback Still A Concern? 3Dak Prescott is probably the low man on the totem pole right now despite being drafted in the fourth round. That's not to say that it will remain that way once he is able to learn the playbook and get up to speed with the way things are done in the NFL.

Prescott has all of the physical traits that you look for in a QB. He has the prototypical size that NFL teams look for in their QBs. He has the arm strength to make all the throws in the NFL and has the ability to extend plays, while also being a threat to scramble when things break down.

However, he needs to get through his reads more quickly and like many other rookie QBs entering the NFL he needs to work on his mechanics. Cleaning up his mechanics might help with his accuracy for those intermediate and deep passes, which might be a concern if not addressed. He also needs to work on his anticipation. He tends to throw to a target instead of throwing a receiver open.

All in all, there are a lot of things to like about Prescott's game and his future with the Cowboys, but I don't think he's the answer to back up Romo yet.

Summary:

Tony Romo's health is a big concern and if he does indeed have to miss extended time again the backup QB situation leaves much to be desired.

The fact that Kellen Moore is the most experienced QB on the roster is concerning and his size indicates that he could be one hit away from a major injury himself.

Showers as a year in the system and should be up to speed with the playbook. To me, I think he has more upside than Moore and provides a skill set more similar to Romo's.

Prescott is a rookie and has to first learn the playbook, while also figuring out the speed of the NFL. It could be a huge cultural shock, resulting in him needing more time to be a valuable option as a backup QB.

Overall, the backup QB situation is still a concern and could possibly need to be addressed at some point.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments
  • George Johnson

    Brian Martin: I am a big Kellen Moore fan and have followed him his whole career since he was a sophomore in high school. Let me see if I can persuade you to think more positively about K Moore as the 2nd team backup. I will start with the potential injury comment which seemed to be one of your biggest concerns. K Moore has never been significantly injured even though he has played a lot of football. Some people think he is just tough. I believe there is more to it than that. I think he falls away or collapses when about to be tackled. So far in his career he has not been injury prone even though he is not very big. He is not athletic or quick and does not normally try to run with the ball and would slide if about to get hit. Sure he could get hurt but probably not any more than any other QB and maybe less. Secondly you are right, K Moore cannot make all the throws in the playbook. He doesn't have the arm strength to make cannon type throws like some NFL QBs. However, he has been playing with limited arm strength his whole life and has learned to compensate for this. He seems to counter his limited arm with his accuracy, anticipation (e.g. throwing the receiver open), quick release and QB smarts/instincts. He seems to know his limitations and does not try to make throws his arm will not allow him to. He can also throw it long and accurately if defense try to cheat up, but has to put a little more air under the ball. He plays smartly and tries to find the optimum receiver and will also throw it away if necessary. A good data point for what I just said was he almost set a new NCAA record for fewest interceptions in college so his arm strength did not seem to cause interceptions at the college level. He also almost set a new NCAA record for completion percent for a four year career so again arm strength did not slow down his completion rate or cause him to throw the ball away a lot. His six interceptions in 2015 season play seemed to have little to do with his arm strength. I believe he threw three by not accounting for the safety coming across to intercept the ball. He has always played way better than anyone thinks he can play including coaches by looking at him. He does not look like a prototypical NFL QB and he does not have a real strong arm. He is able to play because his pocket passing skills other than the impact of his physical limitations are so outstanding. He was one of the best ever college QBs at pocket passing and an All-American and Heisman finalist. His college coach said and I quote," He is the best pocket passer I have ever seen." I assume he has seen P Manning, D Brees and T Brady, but maybe not. He could of easily been the number one pick in 2012 over A Luck and a star in the NFL by now had he had the prototypical size and a strong arm. The reason he is getting an opportunity at 2nd team QB is because his whole body of work in 2015 ( ten and one half quarters), if you factor in it was his first time playing against first team defenses and he had limited reps to get ready to play, was actually pretty good. It wasn't just the Washington game because Washington seem to back off once they got a big lead. He moved the ball well but made some mistakes. With a few better plays he could easily have won one game and possibly even two. His deficiencies ( i.e. too many interceptions, too few touchdown throws and not enough accuracy) are areas he has always excelled at so he is likely to improve/correct these deficiencies with more reps/experience. In college he threw 142 touchdowns and had 28 interceptions almost a new NCAA record. He also had a 73% completion rate his last two years of college, also almost a new NCAA record. The coaches seem to be high on him because 1) he is in his fifth year and seemed to have improved each year, 2) he has worked with S Linehan for two plus years and has S Linehan's confidence, 3) he knows the Dallas offense/playbook well, 4) he now has some starting experience in the Dallas offense, 5) they believe he can compensate or overcome his lack of a real strong arm and size with his outstanding pocket passing skills that are largely mental/instinctive and 6) as I stated above he actually played pretty well overall in 2015 and is likely to improve/correct his deficiencies. The coaches evidently think he can do the job and improve. I think he is likely to win some games and have good QB stats if T Romo was to go down. I thought they should have brought in a veteran QB to compete with him but now that they drafted a QB I doubt they will do that. They are not ready to have to cut K Moore from the roster and they are confident he can get the job done. They want to see more.

    • Brian Martin

      Well George, you weren't kidding when you said you were a huge Kellen Moore fan. I would love to be proven wrong, but he worries me if he has to step in and play for an expanded amount of time. Yes, he does have good football IQ and anticipation, but being left-handed his blindside protector is the worst Cowboys offensive lineman, Doug Free. Teams are going to switch up and play their best pass rusher against Free and I'm not sure Moore can handle a blindside hit. You stated that he hasn't been injured much during his career, but playing in college and playing in the NFL are two entirely different monsters. Also, he is a completely different type of QB than Romo and the offense would have to change up the entire game plan to accommodate him. Showers and Prescott are much more similar to Romo and could come in and possibly run the same game plan or something somewhat similar. Yes, Moore has the experience in Linehan's offense, but Showers has a year in the system and should be up to speed. I really like what I saw out of Showers last year during the preseason and I think if given the opportunity he could possibly beat out Moore and win the backup position. Prescott needs time to get accustomed to the speed of the NFL and learn the playbook, but I believe he has a chance to push everybody and compete for the backup QB position as well. We can probably argue this topic back and forth and not convince either one of us what the right direction is the team to go, but that's part of the fun of the off-season and speculating what we believe is the right course of action that the Cowboys should take.

      • George Johnson

        I agree we can argue back and forth and not convince either one. I don't see Showers ever being as good as K Moore overall and I will explain why. K Moore has physical limitations (i.e. small size, not athletic and not having a real strong arm) and why you are likely not high on him. Showers has the physical abilities (i.e. size, arm strength, running/scrambling ability, athleticism) to be a dual purpose NFL QB and probably the reason you are high on him. If you name almost any other factor or data point especially the cerebral aspects, K Moore is better than Showers. I think the draft experts have oversold the prototypical size and arm strength to play in the NFL and undersold skills/abilities like judgment, decision making, accuracy, anticipation, knowledge of being a QB, instincts, etc. I will name a lot of the factors/data point differences between Moore and Showers; 1) Moore was undrafted but based on his play to date should have been drafted- Showers was undrafted, 2) Moore was one of the all time best pocket passers in college history- Showers was just one of hundreds of good QBs in college history, but not good enough to get drafted. Moore was an All-American and Heisman finalist and set two NCAA records but came close to many more records. – I don't remember reading where Showers was close to breaking any records, 3) Moore was nicknamed Mr. August in Detroit because of his outstanding preseason play. As examples, In 2013 he subbed for Hill at 2nd team against New England and he had a high QB rating, and two touchdowns, no interceptions and pulled out the win. Some sports writers at this time said K Moore proved he could play in the NFL with this game. In 2014 he had a 108 QB rating for the preseason and threw three touchdowns and no interceptions. Caldwell the Detroit head coach said after the preseason, he is accurate and plays with composure, consistency and moxie.- Since last year was Showers rookie year, it doesn't mean much so we will see how he does in 2016 preseason but he is not likely to be as good or better than Moore. If he is he could be T Romo's replacement some day. 4) Moore is known for the cerebral aspects of being a QB and his accuracy and quick release. Most of the skills to be a good pocket passer are cerebral such as anticipation, vision down field, reading defenses, finding the optimum receiver, poise, knowledge of being a pocket passer, knowing where to step or move, knowing when and who to throw to, instincts as to what to do, making good decisions, minimizing mistakes, etc. From what I have read the cerebral aspects are way more important than the physical aspects and why K Moore has gotten this far without being drafted and starting at the bottom. Many of these were learned by Moore from being around football/quarterbacking constantly while he was growing up as his dad was a coach and he evidently was obsessed with studying, practicing and playing quarterback. – Showers is not known for being a top cerebral QB as far as I know. The prototypical size and physical abilities will only get you so far. He can learn, develop and improve but he most likely didn't have the constant football environment since he could walk like Moore had and what makes Moore so good even with his physical limitations.

        • Brian Martin

          George, you are obviously a HUGE Kellen Moore fan, but if you really look at the type of QB the Cowboys prefer then he really doesn't fit the mold. Like you said, Moore is a pocket passer that relies on his football intelligence to read defenses and anticipate the right receiver to go to, but the Cowboys seem to like a little more athletic QB (Showers & Prescott). I'm not trying to take anything away from Kellen Moore, I just don't think he really fits their philosophy in what they want in a QB. Tony Romo probably doesn't get quite recognition he deserves for his athleticism, but it is one of his better traits that he uses to buy a little extra time and allow his receivers to work themselves open. That's not something we are very likely to see out of Kellen Moore.

          • George Johnson

            Brian Martin: I agree with everything you said and that K Moore doesn't really fit the mold. However, S Linehan seems to be high on K Moore and probably understands his strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else as he brought him to Detroit as an undrafted signee and then Dallas and has worked with him for two plus years and is also a QB expert as he played and coached the QB position. S Linehan is more likely to develop a game plan and call plays that Kellen Moore can handle or is more likely to be successful with. Also, one thing K Moore can do that helps, even though he is not very athletic and is not a runner, is roll out from the pocket and throw accurately on the run. He is not a scrambler but seems to know where to step in the pocket to maximize his time to throw the ball. He is also poised in the pocket and does not get rattled easily from the pressure. His quick release also allows him to throw at the last second. He is a pure pocket passer. If the receivers are always covered K Moore is not going to have much success. One of the reasons Russell Wilson is so good is that if all the receivers are covered he can scramble or move around until one of them gets open or he can take off with the ball for a QB run because he is so fast. K Moore can't do either. He has to play with pure pocket passing skills/abilities. I don't know my NFL football offenses that well but it seems like K Moore needs to be in a very west coast type offense with mostly short to intermediate passes and a solid running game.

  • Mark Matthews

    Being a Cowboy's die-hard Fan, I say one season isn't going to make a star out of anyone that backs Tony Romo up…but as time goes by during this upcoming season the more his backups are able to do what they were brought in to do,hopefully the better they will have the opportunity to make things better for the TEAM…let's not forget about Troy Aikman❤ #GO COWBOYS ❗

    • Brian Martin

      I agree. This will be interesting position battle to keep track of heading into the season.

  • steve nichols

    Dont underestimate Kellen.

    • Brian Martin

      I'm not underestimating him, but I really haven't seen anything that would suggest that his job is secure. I didn't really see anything last year that leaves me feeling comfortable about him backing up Romo in 2016. Hopefully, Romo remains healthy and all of this talk about a backup QB will come to nothing.

  • George Johnson

    When I was writing the last blog I thought about something I usually don't bring up about K Moore that is a very positive skill/ability that helps him be successful even though he has physical limitations. K Moore seems to spread the ball around to lots of different receivers and also throws a real catchable ball. I think you saw this in the Washington game and I remember seeing it in preseason games in Detroit. It may of even helped a receiver make the team in Detroit that would not have otherwise. I think this spreading the ball around, might be because of his ability to read defenses and cover-ages and look for and find the optimum receiver. One receiver in Detroit described K Moore as having almost a sixth sense about where the receiver is going to be. If you can get open he can get you the ball. Mathew Stafford made several comments after watching K Moore such as "he has a knack to always find the open receiver" What I really wanted to comment about is what I think the effect this skill/ability has on the team. The receivers want to play for him especially if they are not the stars of the team. If they work hard to get open he can get them the ball and does not focus on just one or two key receivers. This allows them to be more successful and they therefore like playing with Kellen Moore. He also makes the ball easier to catch which also makes them more successful. If the team is moving the ball the stars don't start complaining because of not getting enough passes and therefore the offense team morale is better overall. The defense has more to contend with. If they try to put two guys on the stars then someone else is likely to be more open and K Moore can get them the ball.

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Geoff Swaim Needs Surgery, Should the Cowboys even use a Tight End?

John Williams

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Cowboys TE Geoff Swaim Quietly Exceeding Expectations? 1

Well, the injury woes continue to mount for the Dallas Cowboys with news coming down this evening that Tight End Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist in the 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The injury will need surgery which will mean Swaim will be out a while, if not for the rest of the season.

David Helman on Twitter

Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist yesterday and is going to need surgery. Sounds like it might not be season-ending, but he won't be available Thursday #cowboyswire

In previous seasons this wouldn't be much of a blow to the offense, but Geoff Swaim has been the only tight end that the Cowboys have ben able to rely on this season. Dalton Schultz is a rookie, Blake Jarwin's been inconsistent, and Rico Gathers still isn't fully trusted. With the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan's insistence on using a tight end, it seems there's a huge hole at the position heading into Sunday's first place showdown with the Washington Redskins.

But in reality, is there?

For weeks, I've been screaming for this team to use more 10 personnel (one running back and zero tight ends) as its primary passing formation because it gets their best pass catching weapons on the field at the same time. Swaim has been solid and consistent in his first year as a starter, but the rest of the tight end group has disappointed. So why even run a tight end out on the field.

The Dallas Cowboys have options that could replace the tight end in the passing game without actually using a tight end.

First, they could use Noah Brown as the de facto tight end. He's been one of the best blockers on the team in his first two seasons with the team and this is the type of role he's made for. Split him out wide and motion him in tight when you want to run. He can be a threat down the seem and in the red zone with his athleticism. He'd be a mismatch for the linebackers that try to cover him and could open space underneath for Cole Beasley. Brown is also a really good run blocker, so having him on the field doesn't negate what you want to do in the run game.

The other player the Cowboys coaching staff could work into more of the tight end route responsibilities is Allen Hurns. Hurns is a really good route runner, especially in the middle of the field, where the Dallas Cowboys haven't received a lot of production. You can put Hurns in as the fourth wide receiver and split him a couple of yards off the tackle to give him a cleaner release than a TE might get and have him run "Y-option," shallow post routes, or drags. He can be a threat in the passing game if put in situations where he can excel. See below for something Allen Hurns does really well.

Film Review: What's Up with Allen Hurns?

In fact, by going four wide receivers with Brown or Hurns on the field, it's possible the opposing defense is forced to run more of dime packages against the Dallas Cowboys 10 personnel.

Why would you want to get teams into dime packages?

Most NFL teams have two pretty good linebackers that they can deploy in nickel situations, but teams rarely have four corners that they can put on the field and feel really good about. So, if you can force teams to remove one of their 11 best players for a backup corner back or safety, you are already winning that matchup.

That matchup would also get you into much more favorable defensive fronts to run against. Even if the opposition put seven or eight in the box, it would be against smaller personnel like corners and safeties instead of a second linebacker.

Running 10 personnel as their base offense moving forward would be unconventional, but with an opportunity to take control of first place in the NFC East on Thanksgiving, now is not the time for conventionality.



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Cowboys WR Michael Gallup on Personal Leave; Team Offers Support

Jess Haynie

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Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Michael Gallup suffered a personal tragedy on Sunday, being informed that his brother committed suicide. He is now on personal leave away from the team, and both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have given their full support to Gallup during this difficult time.

According to reports, Gallup was unaware of his brother's death until immediately after the Cowboys' win over the Atlanta Falcons. Michael did not return with the team to Dallas and remained in Atlanta to be with his family.

A formal statement was made by owner Jerry Jones yesterday regarding Gallup:

“Our team and our entire organization are deeply saddened by the news of Michael’s loss. His family is our family. We share in the grief and pain that comes with something so personal and tragic. We offer our support, care and comfort for Michael, and we ask that all of those who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters join us in keeping Michael and his wonderful family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Throughout his time owning the Cowboys, Jerry has built a reputation for personal loyalty and compassion with his players. His head coach is no different.

As he addressed the media Monday, Jason Garrett did not get into football matters when addressing Gallup's situation:

“This is a very challenging time for him. We’ll take it moment by moment, day by day, and give him all of our love and all of our support.”

While Michael is certainly dealing with something far more important than football, his availability for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins does come into question.

The Cowboys have a short week to prepare for Washington, and Gallup has started their last five games. If the rookie has to sit, which seems probable given the timeframe, we can expect more playing time for Allen Hurns and Noah Brown.

Whatever happens happens on that front. Our focus is on Michael Gallup during this sad time, with him and his family in our collective thoughts as Cowboys fans and fellow humans.



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Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch’s Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion

Sean Martin

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Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch's Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion 1

The Dallas Cowboys know what they're doing when it comes to the NFL Draft. Not to be outdone by Philadelphia, the Cowboys brought the 2018 Draft to AT&T Stadium, marking the first time the event's been held in an NFL stadium. This made Boise State Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch the first player to be drafted on the field he now calls home. Returning home this week after two straight interceptions against the Eagles and Falcons, Vander Esch is far from the controversial pick that drew jeers inside AT&T Stadium on draft night and every bit the star the Cowboys projected him to be.

The ascension of Leighton "Wolf Hunter" Vander Esch as one of the best young linebackers in the game has happened rapidly. LVE played eight man football in high school, tasked to do everything on both sides of the ball before settling into defense as a walk onto the blue turf.

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Cowboys have more than just a plan to play defense without Sean Lee. Thanks to their 19th overall pick they're thriving as one of the best units in the league, making Lee an afterthought.

Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch's Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch

Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith have changed the entire makeup of the Cowboys defense, two young and athletic linebackers that should be roaming the middle of the field for a long time in Dallas.

This is exactly what LVE was able to do on his interceptions of both Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan. Vander Esch defending well against the pass is probably the least surprising part of his development, as his coverage skills always overshadowed his strength against the run in college.

It just so happens that Vander Esch tallied 63 tackles in eight games before recording his first career interception, establishing himself as an all-around linebacker with no true weakness. Vander Esch has played with the power and block shedding ability that matches his sideline to sideline range and instincts, as opposing offenses have done little to slow the Cowboys new leader on defense.

LVE2

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This is Vander Esch's first interception, which set up a Cowboys field goal against the Eagles. Watch as Leighton reads the eyes of Wentz through the play, first angling towards his check down throw and then gaining depth to intercept the pass.

The subtle yet effective movements from Vander Esch to undercut Wentz's throw is a fine example of how quickly LVE has picked up on Kris Richard's defense, as well as the next level game speed.

LVE1

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Sunday's interception from Vander Esch was the type of game breaking play the Cowboys needed to separate from the Falcons in hostile territory. Although the Falcons would rally to tie the game after this point, the Cowboys defense became the first to hold Atlanta under 20 points at home this season, thanks in large part to LVE as always.

The smoothness from Vander Esch on this play is exceptional, stepping up into coverage against the running back before sprinting back in position for the turnover. Calvin Ridley, drafted seven picks after Vander Esch, helps Leighton by letting Ryan's pass go through his hands.

Give Vander Esch credit for being in the right place at the right time and finishing the play. Every week, the rookie finds a way to do something memorable, and in helping the Cowboys earn their first two road wins of 2018 he finally flashed in pass coverage.

The next challenge for the Cowboys defense comes on a short week, against the division leading Washington Redskins. Though they lost starting Quarterback Alex Smith for the season on Sunday, expected to start Colt McCoy on Thanksgiving, it was Running Back Adrian Peterson that gashed the Cowboys for 4.13 yards a carry and 99 total yards in the Redskins week six win over Dallas.

Given what not only Leighton Vander Esch but the rest of the Cowboys defense has shown against the run in recent weeks, all without David Irving and most recently without either Antwaun Woods or Daniel Ross, the Cowboys should certainly be prepared to play for first place in the NFC East on Thursday.

Tell us what you think about "Wolf Hunter: Leighton Vander Esch’s Pass Coverage Skills Rising to Occasion" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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