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Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith says Dallas ‘understands our identity’ entering 2019

The Dallas Cowboys surprised the NFL last season by not only fielding a very good team but having one of the most complete teams in the league. Behind a potent offense anchored by Ezekiel Elliot and Amari Cooper, the Cowboys also brought out a ferocious defense, led by rookie phenom Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith.

As Smith continues to slowly develop into the player that many hoped he would become before a horrific injury in 2016, he knows what the Cowboys identity is coming into the newest season.

“[There’s a sense of excitement] because we understand our identity,” Smith said (via 247 Sports). “Last year we took a lot of time finding out who we were as a team, as a unit and individually. We know that we’re a team that’s going to play hard-nosed football. We’re going to run the ball with [Ezekiel Elliott], and then create opportunities for Dak [Prescott] in the play-action — and our defense is going to run to the ball.

Smith went on to say that the entire team, not just one particular unit, is about being extremely physical, and fast. “We’re about speed, speed, speed [and] being physical [along with] stopping the run. That’s our mentality. We just have to execute that every week.”

Of course, it helps when you have some extremely good, young players to boost your speed. The combination of Smith and Vander Esch might be one of the best in the NFL, and with the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence anchoring the Dallas defensive line, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them once again rank as one of the NFL’s best defensive units in the 2019 season.