Although the Dallas Cowboys have struggled as a team in 2018, one position has continued to stand out. The linebacking unit on defense has been fast, aggressive and physical. In particular, the young duo of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch has injected explosive playmakers into the defense. In Sunday’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles, both shined:
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Entering the match-up at 3-5, Dallas couldn’t lose in Philly. With the coaching staff on thin ice, their talented young linebackers made the team forget about Sean Lee. Lee is sidelined once again with a hamstring injury. Jaylon Smith made a critical 4th down stop, Vander Esch made an athletic interception, and had a crucial third down stop of his own to prevent the Eagles from taking the lead. The young defenders were the talk of the night for one noteworthy person:
— Tedy Bruschi (@TedyBruschi) November 12, 2018
Additionally, Dallas Cowboys writer David Helman summed up the performance of Vander Esch pretty well:
Leighton Vander Esch. 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU and an INT.
Holy hell 😳
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) November 12, 2018
If the team can turn the NFC East into a tight playoff race, it will be the performance of their defense against the Eagles that started it. While there is still plenty of work to be done, the team doesn’t have to worry about if/when Sean Lee returns to the field, as they now have two young, athletic leaders on the field.
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