It could be a giant upstart for the Dallas Cowboys defense.
Defensive end Randy Gregory is reinstated and will look to play on Monday, but the team could also get back a familiar face in Leighton Vander Esch.
Vander Esch broke his collarbone in the first game of the season, which was supposed to be a six to eight week recovery. However, head coach Mike McCarthy shared with the media that Vander Esch participated fully in practice and could suit up on Monday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Last week, there was news circulating that Vander Esch was ahead of his rehab schedule and was a limited participant in practice. Returning to team activities is a huge step in the right direction towards his likelihood of playing in a game.
The Cowboys need all the help they can get at this point as the team sits with one of the worst defenses in the league. The team has allowed over 30 points in three straight games, but luckily the NFC East is the worst division in football, so their 2-3 record sits at the top.
Vander Esch’s health issues are a straight comparison to Sean Lee, the former second-round pick out of Penn State in 2010. Lee has missed time this season and has not played in a game.
Lee has also missed an entire season due to a torn ACL, while injuries over the last three seasons have limited his “what if” Hall of Fame career. Sure, Lee has made multiple Pro Bowls during his time in Dallas, but Lee could have been something special.
That’s how it feels when it comes to Vander Esch.
Between the neck and the collarbone injuries, it feels that Vander Esch is treading water before becoming the next Lee. However, if Vander Esch is truly making a healthy comeback, then it could negate some of those comparisons.