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Can LB Sean Lee Save The Cowboys Defense?

Brian Martin

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Sean Lee Receives High Praise From Pro Football Focus

Defense. Defense. Defense. It has been the point of emphasis in all of the losses for the Dallas Cowboys so far this season and will continue to be so until things change. Things could finally be turning around for the Cowboys defense though now that nearly everyone is healthy and back from their suspensions. The return of Sean Lee should especially improve the performance of the Cowboys D.

The last two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers have been especially tough for the Cowboys defense. Both games were in the grasp of the Cowboys, but the defense unfortunately wasn’t able to hold up their end of the bargain. It’s no coincidence that Sean Lee missed both of those contest due to injury.

In all honesty, it’s a little scary to think that the Dallas Cowboys defense depends so heavily on a 31-year-old linebacker that has struggled to remain healthy his entire NFL career, and even college for that matter. But, there is no denying that the defense is an entirely different unit with Sean Lee in the lineup.

Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys bye week couldn’t have possibly come at a better time. Sean Lee absolutely needed more time to recuperate from his hamstring injury and the bye week provided that. I believe he will be ready to go against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7, which is extremely good news for the Cowboys defense.

But, Sean Lee can’t improve the performance of the defense alone. He is only one defender and it takes an entire unit doing their jobs to be successful. It’s time for everybody to step up their game.

LB Anthony Hitchens

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Fortunately, the return of Anthony Hitchens last week will also help the Cowboys defense. He will move back to the middle linebacker position and be an upgrade over Jaylon Smith. Nothing against Smith, but he simply isn’t ready to be depended on right now as a starter. But, he does show a lot of promise. He just needs more time.

All of the youth in the secondary really needs to step up as well. We have seen improvements and reason to believe they will see the field more on a regular basis. But, each and every one of them needs to become more consistent play after play.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping DeMarcus Lawrence can continue to dominate as a pass rusher. That not only helps the young secondary for the Cowboys, but the entire defense as well. He’s on pace to break the all-time QB sack record, and I personally hope he reaches that goal.

There is reason to believe that the addition of Sean Lee will improve the overall play on the entire Dallas Cowboys defense, but I don’t believe one player holds that much power. It is going to take a collective unit executing and playing together to improve. Fortunately, there is reason to believe they can do just that.

Do you believe Sean Lee can save the Cowboys defense?

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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11 Comments
  • Wayne Young

    he won’t save the entire defense but he will help improve it dramatically, especially against the run. The numbers don’t lie, he is probably the best linebacker in the league against the Run. The last 2 weeks proves that. Plus, the Cowboys haven’t been healthy on the defensive side of the ball all year. Let’s see what they can finally do with everybody back.

    • Brian Martin

      Wayne, I completely agree. Sean Lee is certainly going to help improve things, but the entire defensive unit really needs to step up. Hopefully now that everybody is healthy and back from suspensions we see a much improved defense.

  • Hobbes49

    No question Lee returning is of major significance. He allows HItchens to go back to MLB and gives us our strongest LB potential. Two extra weeks should be good for everyone on the defense. The young DB’s get more practice time, Hitchens and Lee get back to speed, Irving gets more time under his belt. The other thing I hope for is continued growth, with less pressure from Jaylon Smith. Also, could these two weeks be a chance for Taco to work out some kinks and become more of a factor. I am also wishing for the staff to see the error of their ways and get Jeff Heath out of the starting line up. I would love to see more of Xavier Woods and Chido at the safety position. I wonder if maybe the two of them could be the future at safety and maybe Byron Jones goes back to CB. Maybe he would be better able to reach his potential there instead.

    • Brian Martin

      Everything you said is exactly why the bye week is so important. The only thing I really disagree with this moving Byron Jones to CB. I think people underrate what he does, but that’s understandable. He already plays a flex S/CB position. I think a lot of fans want to replace him because they don’t really see how making plays on the ball.

      • Hobbes49

        I don’t necessarily disagree with your opinion about Byron Jones. It is entirely possible if he gets a stronger partner to play with at the safety position that his playmaking abilities will become more apparent to us so I’m okay with him staying at safety. it was really just a thought about moving him to cornerback

        • Brian Martin

          You’re not off-base at all. Jones plays a flex position where he plays a lot of safety and corner. I think if the Cowboys could surround him with some more talent, we would see more of his playmaking ability

          • Michael Barthel

            I do not disagree with moving Jones to corner I think he is right. Jones plays better as a corner than he does safety. Also awuzie and woods at safety with Jones brown and lewis at corner would make a respectable secondary. Then Irving Collins and taco make a decent line to build off of. Smith Hitchens and Wilson make a very young and decent linebacking core. Dallas will draft a receiver but I think they go after safety linebacker and corner in the draft maybe defensive line as well. This is all considering Lawrence doesn’t come back

  • Russ_Te

    I always saw Jaylon Smith as an OLB at the pro level, and Lee a MLB. But I defer of course to what the coaches see. Lee is a wrecking ball when healthy as an OLB, no disputing that.

    This defense is weak at SS and I would – love – to see Smith try it. He had a long run in pursuit against the Rams, that really showed his straightline speed. I think it’s mostly back.

    If Smith can play SS, he would terrorize receivers.

    • Brian Martin

      When studying Smith, I saw a player that could play any LB position. I never really saw him as an SS though. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the player that I studied at Notre Dame yet. He’s not moving around well yet and is really struggling when he’s asked to play sideline to sideline. His straight-line speed looks like it’s back though. He just doesn’t look right to me and I’m hoping he just needs more time to recuperate/develop.

      • Russ_Te

        These position moves are always a dice roll. I remember the late 1980’s when Mark Tuinei was a DL’er under Landry. He got moved to LOT, I believe out of need. Then Jimmy Johnson turned him into one of the best LT’s.

        So I like speculating about it when there is a team need. Randy White, famously was drafted at LB size and his first year was an attempt at MLB. He never caught on to the job. So he bulked up in the offseason, moved to DT, now in the Hall.

        There was worry to start the year that Smith was being rushed into service. I’m not sure. I see the speed, but it might still be lateral movement problems, or MLB is not his spot.

        Assuming a full recovery, another issue is whether he should ever come out of the game. I want to use him in blitz packages, no matter if from LB, SS, wherever.

        • Brian Martin

          I believe Smith will still receive plenty of playing time. He needs to get on the field more to help with his development, but he’s simply not ready to receive starting repetitions. And you’re right, position moves are always a roll of the dice. I’m not against using Smith as a SS. I just don’t see the movement from him yet required to play the position. I personally would be surprised to see him line up as a DE in some passing situations. I think I’ve already seen him do that once this season.

Star Blog

A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can’t Be Taken For Granted

Mauricio Rodriguez

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A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can't Be Taken For Granted 1

The Dallas Cowboys are coming from a bounce-back win versus the Washington Redskins in which they blew out their divisional rivals 38-14. The New York Giants are coming from a week in which Head Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese were fired. The former is 6-6, and the latter is 2-10. You tell me which organization is getting the W this Sunday.

Easy, right? Well, no. Not really.

All week long, most of Cowboys Nation has been taking this win for granted. Understandably so, since New York is only a two-win team. However, this is certainly one of those games with a “trap game” feel to it.

It wouldn’t be the first time we see a football team being led by a new coach to a surprise victory. Hell, we saw a very similar situation when Jason Garrett debuted as the Cowboys interim head coach in 2010… against the Giants. 

 Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee, New York Giants QB Eli Manning  Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On top of that, you have Eli Manning back at the wheel after he was benched for Geno Smith a week ago. Even though the guy who made that decision is out of the picture, you have to imagine the veteran quarterback will go out to play with a chip on his shoulder.

And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, this Cowboys’ team still has a lot to prove. Let’s not forget the fact that they lost three consecutive weeks. That’s why we´re trying to find which NFC teams need to lose certain games. Because the Dallas Cowboys put themselves in this position.

Dak Prescott is the future for this franchise, and despite having some tough games this year, I still believe he’s the guy. However, as Staff Writer Kevin Brady recently wrote here at Inside The Star, Dak Prescott must overcome his struggles when facing the Giants:

“Prescott played his worst game of that spectacular rookie season when he traveled to East Rutherford, New Jersey as the Cowboys prolific offense was only able to score 7 points during their key loss.”

Although they have a 2-10 record, the Giants’ defense shouldn’t be underestimated. They still have personnel that can give the Cowboys’ offense a bit of trouble, especially without Ezekiel Elliott running the ball.

Sean Lee should be ready to go this week, and while many discuss whether or not the coaching staff should give him an extra week of rest, the truth is that’s something the Cowboys can’t risk to do. At the end of the day, lose one game and forget about playing in January.

You need 50 on the field. If at some point in the second half they manage to get a big-lead, securing a win, then let’s hope they take him off the field and let the guy rest. But until then, Sean Lee should be playing.

Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys Defense?

Dallas Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Dallas is expected to start three rookies at cornerback. Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Wood could be the guys who line up to start the game in New York. Naturally, this is the case because they’ve proven to be solid players.

But it’s inevitable to be a bit scared of this situation when you’re facing Eli Manning. Say what you want about him, but you never know what might happen when a player like that is on the other side of the field.

I’m picking the Cowboys to win this football games for at least a touchdown. But let’s not think of this game as if it were the Browns. If this ends up being a trap game and the Cowboys manage to get their seventh loss of the year, it’s over.

We’re 14 weeks into the season and it feels like we don’t know what this team is capable of doing with Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott starting at the same time. But this week will prove a lot of things about the Cowboys and their quest for the Playoffs.

Tell me what you think about “A Cowboys Win vs Giants Can’t Be Taken For Granted” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Week 14 Playoff Projection: Cowboys Still In Striking Distance

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Dak Prescott #14 Según los Jugadores, ¿Realmente Lo Es? 1

The Cowboys are one of three 6-6 teams still hoping to find a way into the NFC playoffs. Even if they win out and get to 10-6, they will need help based on tiebreakers and the superior records of the teams ahead of them.

Last night, Dallas’ hopes took a kick in the teeth when the Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta not only moved to 8-5 but also holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys, making them a major threat in the Wild Card race. The Falcons need to start losing, fast, for Dallas to have a shot at overtaking them.

Atlanta’s not the only team that Dallas should be concerned about, though. Here are the current NFC playoff standings, including last night’s result:

  1. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (9-3)
  4. New Orleans Saints (9-4)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
  6. Carolina Panthers (8-4)
    ————————————–
  7. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
  8. Detroit Lions (6-6)
  9. Green Bay Packers (6-6)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

TIEBREAKERS

  • The Vikings are ahead of the Eagles thanks to the common game tiebreaker, since they are both 8-1 against NFC opponents.
  • Seattle (6-3) is ahead of Carolina (4-4) thanks to a better record in NFC games.
  • Detroit has a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Packers and a common games tiebreaker over the Cowboys.
  • Green Bay has a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys.

With the Falcons’ win over New Orleans already in the books, here are the other playoff-relevant games for the NFC in Week 14.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

This is the easiest game let on Dallas’ schedule (assuming Philly doesn’t rest starters in Week 17). The Giants will have a new coach and have changed back to Eli Manning as the starting QB. Will they be galvanized by these changes or only in even greater disarray? We certainly hope for the latter.

Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns

At 6-6 and with Aaron Rodgers potentially returning next week, the Packers are looming as a real threat. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas from a win earlier this year. The hapless Browns winning this one is certainly faint hope, but it’s still Brett Hundley out there at QB instead of one of the league’s MVPs.

Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The other team in the 6-6 tie, Detroit needs to go away. The Bucs are 4-8 and a non-factor now, so we can root for the pirate people without hesitation.

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are another key target for us in the Wild Card race. Minnesota should run away with the NFC North, so they’re a non-factor for Dallas’ concerns. A Carolina loss is clearly better for Dallas, dropping the Panthers to 8-5 and within reasonable range with three weeks left to go.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams

Last week, Dallas fans were put in the unfortunate position of having to root for the Eagles against the Seahawks to help our playoff chances. We’re back in that same boat this week as a Rams’s loss would be more damaging for the Cowboys than Philly losing.

Because L.A. has a head-to-head tiebreaker over Dallas, our best bet is for them to win the NFC West and stay out of our way. We have a much better shot at catching the Seahawks, especially since we get to play them in Week 16 when Ezekiel Elliott returns.

Seattle Seahawks @ Jacksonville Jaguars

So yeah, as just said, the Seahawks are one of the teams we have the best chance of beating out for a playoff spot. Last week’s win over Philly hurt, but a road loss against the 8-4 Jaguars is certainly possible and would go a long way to helping our cause.

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Optimismo, Pesimismo y Realismo para los Dallas Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2

La verdad es que, los Dallas Cowboys se pusieron en una posición en la que no deberían de estar. Y a pesar de que podemos pasar días discutiendo quien merece la culpa, ahora la preocupación en la mente de todos los aficionados es la misma. ¿Veremos a los Cowboys jugar en enero?

Primero que nada, los Cowboys necesitan ganar los últimos cuatro juegos de su temporada, lo cuál no será un trabajo nada fácil. Aún si ganan los próximos dos juegos sin Ezekiel Elliott, los últimos dos partidos de la temporada son bastante complicados.

Sólo para darnos una idea, así se ve lo que resta del calendario para Dallas:

  • @ NY Giants
  • @ OAK Raiders 
  • VS SEA Seahawks (Regreso de Zeke)
  • @ PHI Eagles

Nada fácil para un equipo que ha tenido bastantes problemas. Porque, a pesar de extrañar a jugadores como Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee y Tyron Smith, perder seis juegos nunca debió de suceder.

Sin embargo, aquí estamos. A un par de días de ver a los Cowboys tomar el campo en New York para enfrentarse a un equipo de Giants, mientras esperamos con ansias ver como este equipo gana sus últimos cuatro juegos para entrar a playoffs.

Pero, hay un detalle. Pues todos sabemos que aún con Dallas cerrando su temporada 10-6, necesitamos ayuda exterior. Y es aquí donde entra una preocupación enorme en la mente de todos los aficionados empedernidos de los Cowboys.

Ayer por la noche, los Falcons vencieron a los Saints en el Thursday Night Football de la semana. Y sin darnos cuenta, pudieron haber terminado la temporada de nuestro equipo favorito. Actualmente, los Cowboys se encuentran en la posición #10 de la tabla de la NFC.

Por encima, peleando por los puestos de comodines están los Seahawks, Panthers, Falcons, Lions y Packers. Como aficionados a la Estrella Solitaria, no será suficiente apoyar a nuestro equipo mientras busca sus victorias. Sino a unas cuantas cosas más.

Cowboys' TE Position Hurting Offensive Production?

¿Qué combinaciones necesitan nuestros Cowboys?

  • Terminar la temporada con un récord de 10-6.
  • Dos derrotas de Seahawks, incluyendo una contra los Cowboys.
  • Dos derrotas de Falcons o…
  • Dos derrotas de Panthers MÁS una derrota de los Packers y una de los Lions. 

Es agotador, lo sé. Después de una temporada en la que dominaron la conferencia nacional, no esperábamos esto. Hace un año, hacíamos cálculos para analizar cómo podían asegurar el sembrado número 1 de la conferencia. Ahora, para poder tener una oportunidad de brillar en pos- temporada.

Y al final de cuentas, no sabremos que sucederá. Ni siquiera en cuanto a la temporada de los Cowboys. Suponiendo que ganen los siguientes dos, y tengan un equipo listo al 100% para cerrar contra Seattle y Philadelphia… no conocemos el nivel de este equipo.

Ha pasado mucho tiempo desde que vimos a este equipo con todas sus piezas claves en el campo, y no lo hemos visto ganar contra un equipo con récord ganador en todo el año. Duele admitirlo y es fácil olvidarlo cuando venimos de una semana en la que vencieron a Washington 38-14, pero este equipo no ha sido lo que queríamos.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) 

El problema este año, es que ni siquiera se trata exclusivamente de si este equipo puede o no lograrlo. Sino que se trata de que pasará con otras franquicias. Y aún si llegan a playoffs, ¿se lo merecen?

Como fan a morir de mi equipo, estaré apoyando con todo mi ser a todos los escenarios necesarios para ver a Dak Prescott y compañía en enero. Pero con tantos requisitos, es difícil mantener las esperanzas tan arriba como quisiéramos.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: Optimismo, Pesimismo y Realismo para los Dallas Cowboys” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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