Making the Pro Bowl as a rookie in the NFL isn’t the easiest task to accomplish, but that’s exactly what Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch did back in 2018. Sadly things haven’t gone so well for him since then, but he’s hoping to change that in 2021. In fact, he’s spent the entire offseason preparing to return to his Pro Bowl form.
While some players prefer to take a break from the game in the offseason others like to get a jumpstart on things and LVE sounds as if he falls into that second group.
“I feel great,” Vander Esch said. “Best shape I feel that I’ve been in. I was here all offseason training, lifting, running and doing all of that, just trying to get better and put myself in position to be successful this year. Not that I didn’t in past years, but it was just a bad string of luck for a little bit, so I’m just trying to do everything I can and control what I can control to go out there and have a great season.
“I’ve been training and working out hard and trying to put some more body armor on my frame to make sure that I do give myself the best chance possible to stay healthy.”
Nobody would accuse Vander Esch of being a slacker or anything like that, but to hear he’s doing everything within his power to put his run of bad luck behind him is encouraging. Devoting his entire offseason to accomplish such a feat will hopefully allow him to do just that.
LVE’s mention of adding extra “body armor” to his frame brings to mind upgrading a character in a video game. If this were a video game, we should expect just about all of his physical and mental attributes to increase significantly and that would definitely be good news for the Dallas Cowboys defense.
No doubt a healthy Vander Esch makes Dallas’ defense better. Where he fits is another question altogether. That’s something Dan Quinn and his coaching staff will have to work out in training camp, but whether it’s at the MIKE or the WILL, he should be in line for a starting job this year.
It remains to be seen how all of this pays off, but it is encouraging to see Vander Esch putting in the work in order to hopefully become a better version of himself. The offseason is a time for optimism. What do you think?