3 Dallas Cowboys expected to rebound big in 2020

Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Cowboys
Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

2019 was a down year for a handful of Dallas Cowboys so today we look at three players who are expected to rebound.

It’s safe to say the 8-8 Dallas Cowboys disappointed as a team last season. Not only did the team fall short of fans’ Super Bowl hopes, but they fell short of the playoffs altogether. While the coaching staff gets the bulk of the blame, individual players are due their fair share as well.

For every overachiever there were two underachievers making last season an uphill battle every step of the way. But there’s reason to believe some of those disappointing players will bounce back in 2020. And with new personnel and a new coaching staff in place, can be reasonably expected to get back on track.

Dallas Cowboys Player to Rebound No. 1

Leighton Vander Esch, LB

Last season was about as disappointing of a season as one could imagine for the Dallas Cowboys second year linebacker. After a historically great rookie season where Leighton Vander Esch posted 102 solo tackles, the man known as “Wolf Hunter” fell victim to Murphy’s Law in 2019.

A hip injury hit Vander Esch early in the season, impacting his ability to pursue, change direction, and explode to the ball. Extremely poor tackling and stiff play made LVE appear to be a shadow of his former self through the bulk of the season, and the guy who ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 LB in the league in 2018, fell to 51st in 2019.

As if the nagging injury and declined play wasn’t enough, Leighton Vander Esch suffered what was a season ending neck injury that put his long-term future significantly in doubt. Of all the individual player disappointments last season, LVE was far and away the greatest.

Not only was it a significant decline in production (Solo tackles per game dropped by nearly 25% and missed tackle percentage rocked from 6.7 to 15.3), but injuries put his entire career in question. To bounce back, Leighton is going to have to overcome both, which is no small task.

Why Leighton Vander Esch will rebound

Everything holding Leighton back is based on injury. From his poor play earlier in the season to his premature ending, injuries are the obstacle. Now saying he’s 100% recovered and ready to roll, fans can reasonably expect the 2018 version of LVE to re-appear in 2020.

Additionally, a position change could be in the cards. Reports surfaced earlier in the offseason the Dallas Cowboys were planning to move Vander Esch to more of a Brian Urlacher-type role at MIKE. Vander Esch can thrive in the middle, being more impactful between the tackles against the run and closing windows against the pass.

With improved health and improved play in front of him, LVE is primed for a rebound season in 2020