The Dallas Cowboys' much maligned defense through the first four games of the 2017 season is an entirely different unit with and without All-Pro LB Sean Lee. The reality of playing without Lee, once an expectation, was realized in last week's home loss to the LA Rams.
The Cowboys conceded 412 yards to the Rams without Lee on the field, a week removed from having Lee in their win at the Cardinals.
While the challenge in front of the Cowboys this afternoon is Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers, and a shot at redemption against the team that has ended two of their last three seasons, the challenge moving forward for Dallas into their week six bye will be getting more players healthy and finding their form when it matters the most.
Sean Lee is a warrior. There are few players in the entire NFL that will feel as helpless as him when put in the situation of sitting out and watching his teammates struggle without him.
Giving him two weeks to heal and face the 49ers in week seven on the road needs to be the Cowboys' priority though, as both Lee's value and the importance of the talent around him can still be realized against the Packers.
Against a Green Bay Packers team that has thrown the football 161 times this season and ran it just 84, putting another pass rusher on the field along with a physical linebacker like Hitchens should still give Rod Marinelli's defense a fighting chance to slow down Aaron Rodgers and keep the Cowboys in this game.
Aaron Rodgers: "Sean Lee is one of the best players in the league at any position, so getting him back will be a big lift for them."
Ideally, Sean Lee is leading a Dallas defense into December – with meaningful football left to be played for a unit that will only take strides to improve each week with the amount of young talent on the field. Whether they are 3-2 or 2-3 on the season through five weeks will mean little, especially in the long-term for Lee.
This isn't to say that this second of consecutive home games isn't massively important for the Dallas Cowboys today.
The General's competitive drive and leadership qualities will have to spark someone else on America's Team to step up defensively this afternoon and, as Jason Garrett would put it, take advantage of an opportunity.
— fishsports (@fishsports) October 6, 2017
Sean Lee did not practice this week and is listed as questionable against the Packers officially.