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.