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Markquese Bell using what 'God gave' to be versatile weapon


FRISCO, Texas — In last Monday's 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, a huge spotlight was shined on the linebacker position with Leighton Vander Esch out with a neck injury and second-year undrafted free agent Markquese Bell – who is technically a safety – stepping in to fill his role.

What Bell did with his opportunity was exceptional as he filled Austin Ekeler running lanes and was disruptive across the middle of the field in the pass game as well. For him, it was just about getting back to what he knows best.

"I just try to use the abilities and the skill sets that I have to the best of my ability," Bell said. "Everybody in our group has different skill sets, different qualities, we're all different sizes and shapes so you gotta use what God gave you. I try to incorporate my speed into the position."

Even before Vander Esch's injury, Bell was getting reps in the second level along with his responsibilities with the safety group. When the opportunity arose to fill in, he was ready to take advantage.

"They've been working with me making sure I get everything down," he said. "It's been good, the transition has been pretty good. I got a lot of guys at different positions helping me, coaches helping me every step of the way. The transition isn't hard when I have all of those guys supporting me to be the best."

For him, being classified as one thing isn't what he's looking for.

"I consider myself a hybrid," Bell said. "That's what I tell the guys all the time. They try to tell me I'm a linebacker, they tell me 'oh you're still a [safety]," I'm a hybrid. The more versatile I can be, the more I can help."

Bell has earned praise since arriving in Dallas as a rookie out of Florida A&M last season for his intelligence on the field and how it helps the teammates around him, but he attributes that IQ to the coaching and preparedness that the coaches set forth every week.

"It's something we prepare all week, coaches give us a whole lot of information on the team so the game plan is good and the preparation is good," he said. "You just gotta go out there and just trust what you see. If you see it all week in practice, when you see it in the game, you can't treat it any differently."

There were a lot of positives to take away from Bell's performance against the Chargers, but for him the play that stood out was a second down run play that saw Bell fill the running lane to perfection to blow up Ekeler in the backfield.

"I would say the run through that I had on man call," he said. "I've been working on that, just seeing the formation, seeing the o-linemen and everything. The fact that I put it into play and it was successful, I was really proud of that."

Without a couple of key defensive pieces and with Bell's performance along with other guys stepping up, there's still confidence moving forward about what the group can accomplish. For him, it's no different than week one.

"I would say we held the standard that we've set."

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