Jerry Jones’ Latest Update On Leighton Vander Esch
Jones described losing Vander Esch this season as a “very significant loss,” but they ultimately decided based on how he has evolved since the injury occurred in early October.
“He’s an integral part of that defense out there. We just wish him well,” said Jones, adding, “The nature of his potential injury here causes me to really think longer term and beyond what it means for next week or beyond what it means for next month relative to the team. It has everything to do with what’s in his best interest.”
This naturally raised the question of whether this was a career-ending injury for the 27-year-old, to which Jones responded that he didn’t know and that many factors are involved with that decision.
“He really needs to see how this continues to heal and then go from that point as to whether or not he would want to continue to expose himself to injury,” said Jones.
Vander Esch’s Injury History
On Monday, reports from the Dallas Morning News said Vander Esch “most likely” would not return this season because of the neck strain he sustained in Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers. The report stated there has yet to be a definitive decision on whether Vander Esch will need a second surgery for this injury.
In 2019, LVE had neck surgery to repair a nerve issue he was having that season. But the Pro Bowler has a history of neck injuries dating back to his time at Boise State.
Vander Esch’s Career
Vander Esch is a six-year veteran who was the Cowboys’ first-round draft pick in 2018. If the “Wolf Hunter” ultimately calls it a career, he will end it with 469 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three interceptions.
Vander Esch has embraced his role as the team’s thermostat and the helmet communicator, diagnosing play calls from opposing offenses.
At training camp, Mike McCarthy discussed Vander Esch wearing the green dot, saying, “He wears the green dot; he’s the communicator on the field. Obviously, the adjustments. I think he does a great job recognizing the protection adjustments or the run adjustment of the offense.” He also mentioned how he plays fast with his mind and ability to process information quickly.
This is a tough blow for many reasons, one being that Vander Esch was coming off of his best season since his rookie year. McCarthy credited the linebacker at camp, saying LVE was in the best shape since he started his coaching reign in Dallas.
Vander Esch spoke exclusively to PFN at camp about being the defense’s general.
“I love being in this position, and I love that guys can depend on me because I feel like I hold myself to an extremely high standard, and I feel like I do the same of holding everybody else to a high standard.”
He also discussed his role in mentoring Damone Clark in the last year, saying he is doing what former Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee did for him.
“[Clark] communicates extremely well. He’s very intelligent. So just to teach him the little keys and things here and there that I know and that I’ve learned from the coaches and from Sean, it’s just going to be good for the whole defense… If we’re all firing at all cylinders, good things are going to happen,” said Vander Esch.
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