The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly relegated linebacker Jaylon Smith to special teams, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The jalen smith nfl is a report that the Dallas Cowboys have re-assigned linebacker Jaylon Smith to the special teams unit.
Cowboys LB Getty Smith, Jaylon
Many think the beleaguered linebacker can no longer run, yet he is now being pushed to quadruple his running.
According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Cowboys are likely to use former starter Jaylon Smith on special teams during the team’s final preseason games. On the third side of the ball, veteran LB Leighton Vander Esch is also expected to see action.
Hill tweeted Thursday, “Look for Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch to receive snaps on special teams,” without giving any more explanation.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn acknowledged earlier Thursday that, although Smith has been a “great” contributor, he expects to be utilized differently than in the past.
Quinn told USA TODAY’s Jori Epstein, “Someone I certainly rely on for insight into where we are, how we’re doing, what’s been too much, not enough.”
And this just hours after Jon Machota of The Athletic projected Smith would be benched, with Keanu Neal, Micah Parsons, and Nate Vander Esch slated to start in his place.
We aren’t permitted to reveal which players are affiliated with which clubs, therefore we won’t do so here. But, based on what I’ve observed from the first training camp session on July 22 through Wednesday, here’s my best estimate for the Cowboys’ Week 1 two-deep.
Keanu Neal, Jabril Cox, LB Micah Parsons and Jaylon Smith, LBs Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, LB (if in base)
Smith, who has been the target of trade rumors, has struggled thus far in 2021, earning a dismal 49.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus after two preseason games. Last season, Dallas’ top tackler had a very dismal pass coverage grade (45.9), with just a slightly better (62.6) performance versus the run.
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Smith and Vander Esch, to put it bluntly, aren’t special-teams experts. Quite the contrary, in fact. Blogging The Boys provided the following two-year snap analysis for both players:
Jaylon Smith has 77 special teams snaps this season (17.3 percent , second-fewest on team with distinction)
Leighton Vander Esch has 44 special teams snaps this season (9.9 percent , fewest on team with distinction)
Jaylon Smith (2020) has 87 special teams snaps (19.2 percent , second-fewest on team with distinction)
Leighton Vander Esch (2020) has 38 special teams snaps (8.4 percent , fewest on team with distinction)
LB for the #Cowboys The sample size is limited since Leighton Vander Esch only played 15 plays in the preseason.
But I think he did a good job. I wouldn’t put him in front of special teams just yet.
August 19, 2021 — Marcus Mosher (@Marcus Mosher)
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Over Parsons, LVE Gushes
One might argue that relegating Vander Esch, a fan favorite, to special teams is a clear reflection of his future with the club — or lack thereof. Someone another may argue that the clock started ticking when the Cowboys selected Micah Parsons with the No. 10 overall selection in this year’s NFL draft on April 29.
Rather than treating the rookie as a foe, as others in his position would have done, Vander Esch chose to mentor the talented Penn State product. So far, the outcome has been… Beneficial to both parties.
Vander Esch stated Tuesday on the team’s official website, “It’s been great having him in our room.” “Clearly, the personality that he brings, the charisma that he brings. He makes you laugh a lot and keeps you on your toes.
“Just assisting him in the same way Sean (Lee) and Jaylon (Smith) helped me as a rookie. And being the person that is there for him if he needs anything, knowing that I will be there to assist him. … There’s a lot on him, but I’m certain he can manage it. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s making tremendous steps every day, which I believe demonstrates what type of player he is on the field.”
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@KelbermanNFL is Zack Kelberman’s Twitter handle.
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