The Dallas Cowboys lost more than their first game of the 2020 season on Sunday night. Amid a 20-17 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, the NFC East favorites saw two different starters — tight end Blake Jarwin and middle linebacker Leighton Vander Esch — exit early due to injuries, and it doesn’t appear that either one will be back anytime soon.
Vander Esch was the first to exit due to a collarbone issue, and the Cowboys have confirmed the former All-Pro suffered a broken clavicle. The linebacker, who did not return after leaving halfway through the second quarter of Sunday’s loss, will require surgery for the injury, and while ESPN’s Todd Archer reports an operation won’t sideline him for the rest of 2020, it’s yet to be determined how many weeks he could miss.
Jarwin, on the other hand, is reportedly done for the year after suffering what’s feared to be a torn ACL on a non-contact play. The Cowboys plan to have the Jason Witten successor undergo an MRI to confirm the diagnosis, but all signs point to Dallas losing their new No. 1 tight end for the remainder of the season.
The first NFL Sunday of the 2020 season is in the books and there’s a lot to go over. John Breech and Ryan Wilson join host Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break it all down; listen in the player below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Vander Esch, of course, has a noted history with injuries. He insisted in the lead-up to the 2020 season that he was “not worried anymore” about several bouts with neck injuries, but he’s now set to miss extended time for the second time in two years. A nerve-related neck issue sidelined him for seven games in 2019, and Sunday night’s injury forced longtime reserve Joe Thomas — who was already filling in for Sean Lee, who’s on injured reserve — into first-team duties.
At TE, the Cowboys could be forced to look outside the organization for reinforcements, especially considering how much of a role Jarwin figured to play as one of Dak Prescott’s top pass targets over the middle. In the meantime, No. 2 Dalton Schultz will likely be in line for additional reps