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Cowboys news: Leighton Vander Esch will get the first start of his Cowboys’ career, is he ready?

Let’s check out today’s latest and greatest news surrounding America’s team!

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch to make just his 15th start in 11-man football - Todd Archer,

Leighton Vander Esch will make his first start on Sunday with Sean Lee dealing with a hamstring injury. Let’s see if Vander Esch is up to the task.

On Sunday, Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick in the 2018 draft, will make his first start of his NFL career against the Detroit Lions, replacing Sean Lee -- out with a hamstring strain -- at linebacker.

Leighton Vander Esch is ready for his first start, saying, “There’s a reason they drafted me in the first round and I have to live up to that, so when they need me I’m going to be there.” Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

It will be just the 15th start Vander Esch has made in the 11-on-11 game of football. It will be just the 36th game he has played of 11-man football.

“A big part of the evaluation was his smarts, his intelligence, his instincts for the game,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

Say what? Does Jerry Jones see similarities between the Rams’ high-flying offense and the struggling Cowboys? - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay

Jerry said what now?

“When I look at what we might be able to do and I put my finger on personnel and then move up with what I know we want to do with our personnel, I don’t think it’s a reach to think maybe we could approach that kind of productivity.”

The interviewers on The Fan’s G-Bag Nation followed up by asking if the Cowboys could be expected to start scoring in the 30’s and 40’s.

”I didn’t say that,” Jones said. “You asked me about the Rams, how they played Thursday night. And so the whole point I’m saying is, I can see similarities, I can see talent similarities, I can see the quality of players similarities with a lot of their offense.”

Those similarities are hard to see at this time, Jones was told.

”That’s why you’re doing radio and they’re doing the coaching,” Jones responded. “You’re absolutely right I’m frustrated with that question because you’re putting it in my mouth and I didn’t say that. What I’m saying is that if you match up us against the Rams...then I can see there’s some similarities and I can answer your questions as to why Rams would even come out of my mouth.”


Here is some injury news for week four.

In addition to Lee’s absence this weekend, the Dallas defense will be without defensive tackle Maliek Collins for the second consecutive week because of a knee injury. Collins, 23, had played in every game in each of his first two seasons.

The Cowboys’ offense will again be missing four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, who is suffering from a nerve condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which has sidelined him for the season thus far.

Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (ankle) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (groin) were listed as questionable for Sunday.

Cole Beasley defends Cowboys WRs as offense struggles - Grey Papke, Larry Brown Sports

Are they open? Or are they covered? Cole Beasley gives his opinion on the wide receivers play the first three weeks.

“We’re just getting open. That’s all we can do,” Beasley said, via Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram. “If you watch the tape, that’s all you’ve got to do. A lot of people aren’t watching the tape. They’re just assuming. That’s fine.”

Others have been more proactive in taking the blame, but the fact is, Dallas’s struggles are a team effort. While the wide receivers are trying not to throw him under the bus, Prescott definitely bears a lot of responsibility, too.

Cole Beasley says Cowboys ‘wouldn’t dare’ cut him in series of tweets defending Dallas’ passing game - Joey Hayden, SportsDay

Welp, Cole Beasley was pretty active on twitter today it seems.

Will Dak and the Cowboys really ‘sling it around’ against Lions? - Mike Fisher, 247Sports

This doesn’t seem like the best idea, seeing the Lions rank #1 in pass defense, and #32 in run defense. But those who think the Cowboys will just be passing on Sunday aren’t really understanding what Linehan is saying.

“You start to press,” Linehan said. “I think our guys just need to basically take the weight of the world off their shoulders and go out and play. Just start slingin’ it around. They’re ready to do that.”

Wait. What did he say? ”Slingin’ it around?’’

Yippee! But ... What. What did he really say?

Cowboys downplay Doug Baldwin’s claim of stolen signals - Charean Williams, Pro Football Talk

Jason Garrett didn’t dwell on the hand signal controversy, instead noting that all teams do it.

Baldwin, who did not play in last week’s victory over the Cowboys, said Thursday that practice squad members Alex McGough and Caleb Scott were charged with studying the Cowboys’ defensive calls. The Seahawks receiver allowed that Russell Wilson benefited from knowing what coverage the Cowboys were in before throwing a 52-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett in the final two minutes of the first half.

“I can’t speak to the specifics of that play, but I do think that’s something you’re always aware in all parts of your team, whether it’s verbal communication, your hand signals, just every aspect of that,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “You want to make sure you’re on top of it so when the ball is snapped — no one has any advantage one way or the other against you.

Jaylon Smith ready to start leading Cowboys’ defense with Sean Lee injured - Stefan Stevenson, Star-telegram

Jaylon Smith ready to take on leadership role with Sean Lee sidelined.

But Smith will wear the helmet receiver instead of Lee, who is out with a hamstring injury. Smith, who is in his second full season after missing 2016 because of surgery, took a similar role a season ago when Lee missed five games. Smith, however, is a much improved player with 2017 under his belt.

And taking a leadership role comes naturally to Smith.

“I’m a leader at heart. It’s not something I have to try hard to do,” he said. “My role is to set the defense, set the tempo. I prepare for it, being a natural born leader myself. I have great relationships with all of the guys.”

Scout’s Eye: Zeke Is The Key To Week 4 - Bryan Broaddus,

Broaddus breaks down how Elliott can completely take over this weekend. Will his wishes come true?

Dallas Cowboys Win If:

The focus all week has been on the Cowboys’ offense and what changes need to take place in order to allow it to be more productive. We can all point the finger at the coaching staff or the quarterback, wide receivers or offensive line. The problem is that all of these areas at one time or another have made things difficult for them to generate a consistent attack

Take the game last week. Scott Linehan calls a play to hand the ball to Ezekiel Elliott to pick up a first down. It’s never a bad idea to put the ball in Elliott’s hands in those situations. I’d wager that 90 percent of the time you make that call, you’re picking up a first down. It’s the other 10 percent where the unknown happens -- fumbled snap, penalty or a missed assignment. In this particular case it was a missed blocking assignment by a veteran offensive line.

As we continue to focus on the physical errors, the mental ones that have been just as costly. Missed assignments, lack of field awareness or simply reading the defense correctly have all led to problems. The goal is to always play a perfect game on both sides of the ball, but that starts with knowing what to do first.

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