Dan Quinn: Leighton Vander Esch is on a mission

NFL: DEC 20 49ers at Cowboys
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After the Cowboys declined to pick up their option on Leighton Vander Esch‘s contract for the 2022 season and drafted Micah Parsons in the first round, Vander Esch said he was not any more motivated than usual while getting ready for a contract year in Dallas.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was hired this year, so he hasn’t been around Vander Esch in previous offseasons. That may be why his read on how Vander Esch is preparing for the fall sounds quite different than the linebacker’s own assessment of his mindset.

“I’ve been really impressed, not just from the OTA time,” Quinn said, via the team’s website. “Every once and a while you can just see a person that’s on a mission, and I think that’s what I’ve seen from Leighton from the time I arrived. You could just feel the energy and intensity that he’s putting into his workouts to change his body, to get as strong as he could. From then on, the questions, in the meetings, you could feel the urgency to go.”

Quinn highlighted tackling as an example of the kinds of things that Vander Esch has asked to “work on over and over again to complete his game.” After missing 13 games the last two seasons, health may the biggest thing that has to break Vander Esch’s way in order for his mission in Dallas to continue beyond the 2021 season.

8 responses to “Dan Quinn: Leighton Vander Esch is on a mission

  1. I hope he can stay healthy and be a really good staple of the Cowboys’ D, if not he’s more of a Sean Lee 2.0; really good but too unreliable.

  2. Draft a player that plays your position? Contract year? Of course he’s on a mission…….Sad thing is, he should have been on a mission the last few years and he wouldn’t have had to worry about another contract. Best ability is availability.

  3. So far he’s just Sean Lee younger version…… I like the kid but if you can’t stay on the field then what’s the point? The Cowboys wayyyyy overpaid Sean Lee for far too long. I think they’re trying to avoid the same mistake. Even if he has a good year, meaning if he stays on the field, then I’d still let him walk. He’s too much of a risk to pay that kind of money to.

  4. It’s not that he’a bad…. He’s really good. The problem is that he’s inherited Sean Lee-itis in that he’s constantly hurt.

  5. Die-Hard Cowboy Fan and while I route for the guy….you can’t play linebacker with re-occurring neck problems. It just won’t work.

  6. The kid is still very young. Good heart, great work ethic. No one can say otherwise. Still has the rest of his life to figure it out but it’s going to be tough if he is paralyzed. Health first then football. With Parsons in, LVE’s reps may drop a bit but that also means less risk, less mileage, quality rotation and that’s always good for a deep play off run.

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