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Training Camp | 2023

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Dan Quinn's text to Clark, Overshown: "I feel their energy, speed'


OXNARD, Calif. — The dilemma of depth at linebacker is beginning to sort itself out, and in a big way, for the Dallas Cowboys. The progression of Jabril Cox is joined by what looks to be a looming Year 2 leap for his former fellow LSU teammate Damone Clark, and then there's the addition of rookie third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown — all three making an impact in the preseason opener.

With the Jacksonville Jaguars now behind them and the Seattle Seahawks on the horizon for this coming Saturday, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn took a moment to talk about just how pleased he's been with a linebackers' room led by Leighton Vander Esch.

Quinn offered a lot of rightful praise for all, especially Clark and Overshown, who are both performing well in their first-ever NFL training camp.

"In a lot of ways, I've been really proud of Damone Clark," said Quinn as training camp closed shop in Oxnard. "He didn't have a training camp to go through last year. To see the two of them together — I texted them last week that I felt their energy, I felt their speed on the field in the game. And I think that's another cool thing."

Clark, a former fifth-round pick in 2022, underwent spinal fusion surgery ahead of his respective NFL draft and was not cleared to participate in football activities until midseason.

He'd step in and help to save the day at the position in the wake of injury to Anthony Barr, but with a full offseason and training camp now under his belt, he appears back to his LSU form — if not improved.

"I'm thankful and grateful that I got the opportunity to play last year," said Clark recently. "They allowed me to go out there [in 2022] — not having an offseason and the [freedom] to make mistakes. Now it's about learning from the mistakes I made last year and go out there and hit some people."

As for Overshown, it's been all about hitting the ground running as a rookie after a strong first showing against the Jaguars.

"Going out there week by week and flying all over the field — trying to beat everybody to the ball," said Overshown. "I take pride in being around the ball. That's what I'm looking forward to — being that guy all year."

The duo combined for 11 total tackles against the Jaguars, with a near-even split.

Things are coming together nicely for the Cowboys at the linebacker position, to say the very least, with at least four very capable young players with high ceilings vying for playing time in Quinn's system of destruction and disruption. But for Clark and Overshown, especially, it's about contributing at what can be viewed as the outset of both careers.

"They're not in the same class, but they're both learning some things in this camp together because of Damone not going through that [in 2022]," Quinn said. "Those players, in pads, that's stuff to go. I've seen, in the spring, there's some hesitation when they're not sure. So when you see the speed come out now, as a coach, I know the hesitation is gone.

"… We'll see more of that as we're going [along]."

There were a lot of questions at the linebacker position for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, outside of Leighton Vander Esch's new deal, but they've been answered quickly.

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