Over a week has now passed since the Dallas Cowboys lost 30-22 to the Super Bowl bound Los Angeles Rams. It was a tough game for the defense, giving up 273 rushing yards. The 2018 Dallas Cowboys accomplished more than many thought after starting the season 3-5, but still were not able to advance past the Divisional Round. They started their offseason by parting ways with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Let’s take a final look at these Cowboys looking at two players that really stepped up and played really well and two guys that didn’t have their best seasons with the season stock report.
LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH
Linebacker was an obvious need for the Cowboys going into the NFL draft last April. They had to find a way to keep the defense from falling apart without Sean Lee. No one could have imagined how productive and the impact Vander Esch would be the night he was drafted. Leighton became an all-pro and a pro bowler in his rookie season and created quite the tandem with Jaylon Smith at the linebacker position. Vander Esch finished the season third in the NFL in tackles with 140.
Joe Looney is the unsung hero in a lot of ways for the way he stepped up in the absence of Travis Frederick. While the offensive line had their share of struggles in 2018, Looney was not one of them. With Zack Martin and Tyron Smith being out as well as the left guard position struggling at certain parts of the season, a 10-6 season would not have been possible without his consistency at the center position. Looney played every snap this season (1,076), which was up from just 94 snaps in 2017
Throughout David Irving’s career, there have been questions on how committed he was to football. 2018 did nothing to put those questions to bed as he played in just two games and has only played in 10 games the past two seasons and has been suspended for four games during both. Irving has also battled off the field issues that caused him to be away from the team during training camp. Reports came out last week that he missed multiple drug tests during the season, which in the NFL counts as a failed drug test. Now, the big question is will David Irving ever play in the NFL again?
When Allen Hurns signed a two year deal worth up to $12 million with the Cowboys last offseason, there was a thought that he could recapture his production from the 2015 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It never quite materialized for Hurns as he was only able haul in 20 catches for 295 yards with two touchdowns in very limited snaps. He had one catch for 14 yards against Seattle in the wild card game before suffering a serious ankle injury. There is no guarantee he is back in Dallas when he resumes playing.
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