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Leighton Vander Esch named defensive rookie of the month

The flexibility of the Saints to innovate and still play fundamental football paired with the old school nature of the Cowboys is setting up a great Thursday Night Football.

The Cowboys have had to worry about injuries to Sean Lee hamstringing their defense in recent years, but now they have another impact linebacker.

Leighton Vander Esch was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the month for November, after a strong four-game stretch.

He had double-digit tackles in every game and a pair of interceptions. He leads the Cowboys in tackles with 119, putting him on pace to pass Dexter Coakley (136) for the team’s all-time rookie record.

The first-rounder has also provided a steadying influence for their defense during Lee’s absence, giving them someone at the second level they can rely on.