After struggling in the first four weeks of the season, DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith both had solid performances in Week 5. Sure, the Dallas Cowboys were playing the New York Giants. But even still, Cowboys’ fans should be excited about what could become breakout performances.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith endured plenty of criticism over the first four games of the season. He was missing tackles, looking slow, and didn’t closely resemble his 2018 self. But against the Giants, he looked sharp.

In fact, Smith racked up many relevant tackles in Week 5, per Arif Hasan from The Athletic:

“Many linebackers who rack up high tackle totals will do so chasing a runner who already made the first down as they come off a block or after they give up coverage, but Smith generated seven tackles at or near the line of scrimmage — more than any other linebacker in Week 5.”

Not to mention, Jaylon Smith looked solid in coverage as well, allowing only three yards in his direction. Concerns remain around the Cowboys’ linebacker, considering the opponent. After all, the Giants came into the game with one of the best offenses in the NFL.

One of the biggest weaknesses for the Cowboys is the defensive tackle position. Now that Trysten Hill is out for the season with a torn ACL, it’ll get worse. Linebacker Jaylon Smith stepping up now would be huge for covering it up on defense. Getting Leighton Vander Esch back should also help Smith’s performance.

Another Dallas Cowboy with tons of expectations is DeMarcus Lawrence, who’s had a couple of weird seasons. In 2019, he failed to get more than five sacks. But we were hopeful that that didn’t mean much as he was still creating pressure and excelling in run defense.

However, a slow start to the 2020 campaign has raised some eyebrows. Through 4 games, Lawrence had no QB hits. Of course, he was dealing with an injury and was playing a limited amount of snaps.

But Lawrence went off against the Giants, getting a strip sack that turned into a touchdown for the Cowboys defense. DeMarcus was great all game as he consistently pressured Daniel Jones.

But again… these are the Giants. They have one of the worst offensive tackle units in the entire league. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep it up going forward. One thing to point out, though, is that Lawrence played on 69% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps. That’s the most he’s played in 2020.

The Dallas Cowboys play a solid Arizona Cardinals offense on Monday Night Football. It’s a good game to test just how real Smith’s and Lawrence’s performances against the Giants were. Will their stocks rise against Kyler Murray & Co.? Playing without Dak Prescott, they better.

Featured Image Via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports