How did Leighton Vander Esch look in OTAs and do you think he will fit in with Coach Quinn's defensive scheme? I know he needs to prove his durability, but the guy is big, athletic, and has a great attitude._— LES HOFFMAN / PELL CITY, AL _
David: Leighton looked ready and active, which is about all you can ask for when the guys are wearing shorts and t-shirts. I'm really hoping that all the beef the Cowboys added on their defensive front, with guys like Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins and Quinton Bohanna, can keep him cleaner and help him get to the ball.
Jonny: I personally find it tough to evaluate veterans in OTAs. They will wisely hold a little back compared to rookies. As you say, Vander Esch just needs to stay healthy. He can't prove durability in a practice with no pads, but for a guy who has had surgeries, being on the field is better than not being on the field. If healthy, I'm not worried about him in Quinn's system. Quinn knows how to use players who can find the ball and make tackles.
On the first day of OTA's there was a short blurb about Zeke not being out there practicing. What's his status?— JARED MARSHALL / INDEPENDENCE, OR
David: Zeke wasn't at Tuesday's practice, but he's definitely at the facility and working through the offseason program. The Cowboys seem to be easing him along slowly, and that's just fine with me. He's been posting his offseason workouts all over social media for the world to see. I'm not worried about him being in the lineup until the games matter.
Jonny: Head coach Mike McCarthy said Zeke was at The Star on Tuesday and that he's been a consistent participant in the voluntary offseason program. Keep in mind, he had a pretty brutal season running behind a depleted offensive line, so as Dave said, sounds like they're just trying to keep him fresh heading into training camp.