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Leighton Vander Esch Practicing Thursday, Could Play Monday

Defense has been an adventure through the first five games of the season, and not in a good way. It’s gotten to the point where forcing a punt is considered a turnover, because they don’t happen all that often either. One of the big issues the defense has faced is the health of some of their key players. It looks like that unit is getting healthier by the week. After Anthony Brown returned to action in week five against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys got another boost to the lineup with the return of Leighton Vander Esch to practice today.

Mike McCarthy shared with the media today that Leighton Vander Esch will be a full participant in Cowboys practice today ahead of their game Monday with the Arizona Cardinals.

Last week, it was reported that Vander Esch was ahead of his rehab schedule and began practicing in a limited capacity. Returning to team activities is a huge step in the right direction for Vander Esch and the Dallas Cowboys who need all hands on deck if they’re going to make any movement on their “worst defense in the NFL” status.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has been much maligned through the first five games of 2020. They’ve allowed the most points per game through the early parts of the season, allowing 36 points per game and 34 or more in each of the last four games. Jaylon Smith looked much better last week against the New York Giants and the Cowboys need him to play at a high level for the defense to be better moving forward, but getting Vander Esch back should help everybody.

It remains to be seen what kind of lingering effects Vander Esch will have from his injured and now healed clavicle. In a sport as physical and as violent as the NFL is, there’s certainly a chance he could reinjure his shoulder. The Cowboys 2018 first-round draft pick has been dealing with a neck issue for the last several years as well, here’s hoping a “negative times a negative equals a positive.”

The Dallas Cowboys defense needs Leighton Vander Esch to return to the level of play we saw from him during his rookie season. With as ineffective as their interior defensive line has been against the run, the linebacker group has to be a difference maker and that includes Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys need their big name players to play big-time games over the next 11 games if they want to have a shot at the playoffs and more.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. I sure hope he comes back and stays healthy. This defense really really needs him. When healthy he is one of the few playmakers we have on D which is part of the problem . An overemphasis on offense while neglecting the defensive side of the ball.

  2. Great news, if LVE can play and play effectively. I was hoping we would sign M Dareus. We are thin at DT. He can plug holes and hold the point at least.

  3. LVE . Here comes the Calvary. Defense will start playing like we thought they would back in the off-season. Cowboys 27 Cardinals 17. Take it to the bank

  4. Vam…. What is it with you and that DT Dareus!? There’s a reason he’s still a free agent!! He sucks…. He’s only had maybe 1 or 2 good seasons in his whole career!! He’s not worth signing!! He wouldn’t do anything to help this team!! If we sign a new DT the only one worth getting is snacks Harrison…. That’s it!! And if we don’t hurry up and get him before the seahawks put him on the active roster we’ll be out of luck and there won’t be any DT worth getting!! But again, as far as Dareus goes….. Drop it…. He sucks and nobody is gonna waste their time getting him!!

  5. I am in no hurry for him to come back. As bad as the nfc east is there is no reason to rush his return and risk losing him for the entire season. Where are the updates on Lee?

  6. The problem is Jerry drafted 3 LBs that have significant injury histories dating back to college. Lee worked out pretty good but has missed a alot of games in his career. Smith while a good story has been terrible this yr. and does anyone expect LVE to remain healthy.? He also brought in McCoy who he knew had a preexisting condition and Poe who was underwhelming the previous yr in Carolina. Lastly he brought in Griffen who was suppose to be a difference maker, but has been a bust.

    See a common theme here? Jerry likes to take chances on injured players so he can say he saw something nobody else did. He brings in the wrong player’s and he overpays for others. Jerry is and has always been the problem with this team.

  7. Hey Cowboys fan, look at one of our STARTING DT, Dontari Poe’s stats and Dareus’s stats. Basically same age and years played.

    Poe – 285 tackles, 20.5 sacks, TFL 31

    Dareus – 365 tackles, 37.5 sacks, TFL 50

    We are really thin at DT, first McCoy gone for year, then Hill gone, so common sense says we could use at least a depth player for that position.

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