A recent signing for the Cowboys looks to step up when called upon.
FRISCO, TX — The news of Leighton Vander Esch being lost for the season with a neck injury suffered in Week 5 hits hard for the Dallas Cowboys, a team that entered the 2023 season with question marks surrounding the depth at the position behind Vander Esch and Damone Clark; but **Rashaan Evans intends to answer the call going forward**.
“We’re gonna ball for our brother,” said Evans ahead of the first practice in preparation for the Carolina Panthers. “Whenever you have a situation where you’ve played the game as long as I have, an injury like that hits home for me, especially when you know the kind of player he is and, also, being a competitor, you wanna be out there.”
Markquese Bell has stepped into the role of linebacker following the loss of rookie fourth-round pick DeMarvion Overshown, and has played exceptional football, but Evans was added in the wake of Vander Esch being moved to injured reserve.
His number will likely be called again soon by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and there will be no shortage of expectations he’ll be asked to meet, but it’s also nothing he’s shying away from.
Since the San Francisco debacle, Prescott and Lamb have the Dallas offense humming.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Sometimes when it’s going well, it’s really going well. Even on accident.
First-and-10 from the New York Giants’ 28 on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was under pressure and, with his left leg in the air, he flung a pass to the sideline where CeeDee Lamb came down with a 17-yard grab.
“I’ll be honest,” Prescott said. “I was throwing it away, but that’s CeeDee Lamb being CeeDee Lamb.”
Three plays later, Prescott had a 10-yard rushing touchdown and the Cowboys had a 28-0 lead on their way to a 49-17 win against New York.
Since Week 6, Lamb’s 41 catches are tied with Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson for most in the league, but Hockenson has played one more game than Lamb during that stretch. Lamb’s 617 yards are the most in the NFL. According to ESPN Stats & Information, nobody else even has 500 yards. His 10.3 catches and 154.3 yards per game are the most in the NFL.
In the win against the Giants, he became the first receiver in NFL history with three straight games of at least 10 catches and 150 yards.
“I’m one of them ones,” Lamb said after catching 11 passes for 151 yards against the Giants. “I’m the top receiver in this game and there’s no question about it. If there is, see y’all again next week.”
Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb a ‘top WR in this game, no question about it’, wins NFC Offensive Player of the Week - Garrett Podell, CBS Sports
Dak Prescott isn’t surprised by the wide receiver’s recent award-winning performances.
That performance against New York on Sunday was more than enough to earn him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The honor is Lamb’s first Player of the Week accolade in his career, and he is now the third Cowboys wide receiver in the last 10 seasons to earn the award, joining another No. 88 in Dez Bryant (Week 15, 2014) and former teammates Amari Cooper (Weeks 12 and 14, 2018).
His quarterback, Dak Prescott, refused to even refer to Lamb’s current heater as a streak. Prescott himself also rewrote some records on Sunday, becoming the first Cowboy with 300 or more passing yards (404) and three touchdowns (four) in three consecutive games. He also became the first Cowboy with 400 or more passing yards (404), four or more passing touchdowns (four) and one rushing touchdown (one) in a single game.
“I don’t even want to call it a streak because that’s who he is,” Prescott said postgame on Sunday. “It’s just what he’s beginning to do week in and week out.... I can tell you I’ve never been as confident or as free. [Or] as connected with other guys in the offense, play-calling and just this whole system and what we’re trying to get after as I am now. That’s credit to those guys. That’s credit to coach [Mike] McCarthy, [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer, [quarterback coach Scott] Tolzien and the rest of the offensive staff of just being able to communicate exactly what we’re trying to get. It feels good. Honestly, it does. Great chemistry. We’re just going to continue to build.”
“It’s really cool when you see CeeDee or a player just really hit his stride, and it was great for the Dallas Cowboys,” Mike McCarthy said postgame Sunday. “He’s going to be doing that for a long time. With Dak Prescott, I think you have a guy that you can grow with. Not only is it great for those two, but it’s great for the whole group because it raises the standard that everybody has to play to.”
No matter how you slice it, the Cowboys’ linebacker room is still incredibly thin.
Even for a team like the Cowboys, who run very little base defense and rely heavily on their safeties in big nickel groups, they are desperately thin at the LB position. Only Damone Clark and Micah Parsons are listed as official LBs on the active roster.
Granted, Parsons is primarily an EDGE and Markquese Bell is a LB in most senses of the job description, but the point remains: they are thin and possibly an injury away from disaster.
When the postseason nears and yards get tough, having legit LBs on the field will be key. Jayron Kearse and Donovan Wilson are nice in a pinch and can serve many of the LB responsibilities, but they have limitations against the run.
While Dallas has multiple options on their practice squad, Clark and Bell are the only true starting level entities on the roster. Preserving them for the season is paramount because they represent the Cowboys best efforts at LB and especially at run defense.
Let It Rayne: Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott ‘Best QB in The NFL!’ Says Analyst - Adam Schultz, Sports Illustrated
Prescott being a top QB in the NFL is hard to argue after his play over the last month.
There is a case to be made that, statistically, Dak has been the top quarterback in the NFL over the last four games. He has thrown for 1,354 yards and 12 touchdowns (two rushing as well) with just two interceptions.
That’s not all. Prescott has had completion percentages over 70 three times, and in all four games, he has had a quarterback rating of 109.3 or better.
Former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth thinks that when you add it all up, there isn’t a quarterback playing better football than Dak is right now.
“He’s the best quarterback in the NFL,” Foxworth said on ESPN’s GetUp. “Since that 49ers loss, he’s been the best statistically by almost all the advanced metrics. Then, if you watch the games, you also notice he’s not getting great protection. He’s balling with the offensive line collapsing, he’s not getting a running game as great as we thought Tony Pollard was, that running game does not exist.
“CeeDee Lamb is playing well, but Dak, I think is making everything much easier for everyone around him, including the coaching staff.”
Here is the Cowboys’ first injury report for Week 11.
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