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Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes: Injuries Make Sean Lee Untrustworthy?

Brian Martin

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Has Sean Lee Become A Liability For Cowboys?

As an adolescent you were probably taught or at least heard the nursery rhyme/kids song "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes". It was meant to teach us not only parts of the human anatomy, but was probably taught as an exercise as well. But, for Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, it could be used a roadmap of injuries he has sustained in his career.

Injuries of course are a part of the NFL or just about any other professional sport. But, it has been a big part of Sean Lee's career dating all the way back to his collegiate days at Penn State. Unfortunately, despite his immense talent, he has become extremely untrustworthy for the Dallas Cowboys.

You see, the defense for the Dallas Cowboys is pretty much built around Sean Lee. No one will argue that they are better when he is in the lineup, but are a dramatically different team when he's not on the field. He is that talented and makes that much of a difference. It's truly amazing how much the Cowboys depend on just one player.

Now, I could throw out all kinds of statistics of how the Cowboys defense plays when Sean Lee is in the lineup and when he's not. But, it's something that we already know, so why bother. Instead, I want to focus on his injuries and what the Dallas Cowboys can possibly do to keep him healthy.

LB Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

We all know that at some point Sean Lee is going to miss some time due to an injury. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's played an entire season in his NFL career. He has sustained multiple concussions, an ACL tear, a neck injury where there was ligament damage, plantar fascia tear in his foot, a fractured wrist, and a smorgasbord of hamstring injuries. Yet, we don't really hear the injury prone label attached to him.

It's way past time that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff and their strength and conditioning program get together and figure out some way to keep Sean Lee on the field. If they're going to depend on him as much as they do to make their defense better, something needs to change and fast.

The Cowboys organization needs to cut back on Sean Lee's workload in practice. He has the heart of a Gladiator and wants to be out on the field as much as possible, but he doesn't really need the practice repetitions. He is arguably the most mentally prepared player day in and day out in the NFL. Practice repetitions don't mean squat to a vet player like him unless he isn't in shape.

LB Sean Lee

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Unfortunately, #50's body can't hold up to the workload. His heart is definitely in it, but the body just can't hold up the way he would like. We have seen it time after time. Sean Lee is going to sustain some kind of soft tissue injury. Resting him as much as possible in the off-season and in between games each week is really the only solution.

Who knows? It may be too late in Sean Lee's career to change things. But, that doesn't mean the Dallas Cowboys don't need to do everything in their power to keep him on the field. They don't have his replacement currently on the roster, probably making it a top priority the 2018 NFL Draft.

One thing is for sure though. The sad truth is, Sean Lee is simply untrustworthy to be relied upon like the Dallas Cowboys do. It's time some serious changes are made one way or another.

Do you think Sean Lee is untrustworthy?



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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8 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    How long are we going to base our defenses success on Sean Lee’s health???Every team deals with injuries but one injury to this defense and EVERYBODY looks lost. This isnt the case for other defenses, only the cowboys. The Panthers & Kuechly, Texans & Watt, and etc. These other defenses keep it moving, but not the boys. They lose Sean Lee and NOBODY seems to step up, its sad to watch

    • Brian Martin

      I think it’s a depth issue to be honest. I think Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens are really the only two starting caliber LBs on the roster right now. Unfortunately, it’s like that at several positions.

  • http://dvqp.ru BeirutWedding

    I disagree that Sean Lee isn’t regarded as injury prone. I think everybody thinks that and has thought that. Last year, he was held out of the last game to prevent injury. The problem is, as said above, why — years later — is the defense so wholly dependent on him? I heard Broaddus tell a caller why were they calling him injury-prone when he played all of last year. For myself, I can say I was worried BECAUSE he was healthy all last year. There’s no way he was going to make it through another season injury free. So then, your defense is depending on the health of Sean Lee…and Jaylon Smith. What kind of sense does that make? And frankly, not just there? Why fired the line fall apart when Smith’s not there? Why can’t they run without Zeke? It starts to come down to coaching.

    • Brian Martin

      I guess what I meant by Sean Lee not being regarded as injury from is he doesn’t receive the same kind of flack like Tony Romo for instance. But, it is what it is.

      Coaching is definitely a problem, but the Cowboys have also failed to have the proper depth at nearly every position to survive injuries. Take Tyron Smith’s injury for instance. The Eagles lost their starting LT and are still surviving with a backup. The Cowboys on the other hand were depending on an injury prone Chaz Green as a fill-in. He’s filled in before and done an adequate job, but his play last week against the Falcons was pathetic.

      • http://dvqp.ru BeirutWedding

        Hm, for me, that’s what I mean. The lack of depth is a coaching problem. Either the next level guys aren’t being coached up properly or the guy’s their bringing in or keeping aren’t the right guys to keep. But I feel like it sounds like we’re arguing when we’re actually agreeing.

        • Brian Martin

          Agreed LOL

  • Hobbes49

    Anthony Hitchens claims he is ready to take the next step now that Lee is out again. Hopefully he can do it. I agree with Travis, how can this defense go from potentially devastating to totally incompetent because of one man down. It’s an embarrassment to be honest. I feel bad for Jaylon Smith, cause he is trying, but he is clearly a year or two away from being at his best. The injuries to Lee are frequent and it’s going to get worse as he gets older. It is time to at lease start considering who his eventual replacement will be. If Hitchens really flashes in the next few games, the Cowboys should consider splitting time between the two in the future to get this team ready to say good bye to Lee. It pains me to say it, because he is an awesome player, but the reality is he is not really reliable due to his injury history. Sad, but true.

    • Brian Martin

      Anthony Hitchens has played really well and I’m hoping he’s able to step up his game. Smith just isn’t trusting what he sees. Physically I think he’s capable, but I’ve seen him out of position a lot. I think he will be fine in time though. And I think the Cowboys absolutely have to try to re-sign Hitchens. I don’t think Sean Lee is going anywhere anytime soon, but they definitely need to upgrade the LB position.

Dallas Cowboys

Next Day Rant: Too Many Letdown Games Under Jason Garrett

Jess Haynie

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Jason Garrett

Yesterday's 23-0 shutout in Indianapolis was one of the ugliest losses the Dallas Cowboys have had during Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach. Even though it probably won't cost them a playoff spot this year, let alone the NFC East title, it still reminds us of a painful history with Garrett's teams.

It takes me back to those 8-8 seasons during  Jason's first three years as head coach, when playoff hopes were dashed time and again by that inevitable letdown loss in December.

In 2011, the Cowboys were 8-6 with two games to go. The NFC East was all bunched together, with the division title and playoffs in reach. Dallas fell flat in a 20-7 home loss to the Eagles, then got walloped 31-14 in New York.

2012; Dallas is again 8-6. They lost at home, in overtime, to a Saints team that finished the year 7-9. It robbed them of the chance to make their Week 17 finale against Washington, the eventual division winner, a meaningful game.

2013; Dallas is 7-5 after Thanksgiving. They go 1-3 to finish the year, losing to two teams who finished the year with just 8 wins each.

This loss reminded me of those years, where the team just didn't look hungry or emotionally prepared to play despite having everything to play for. For as much as we've credited Jason Garrett for his work as a motivator and leader, these blemishes can't be ignored.

Colts

The Indianapolis Colts ran over the Dallas Cowboys in their 23-0 shutout victory (Week 15, 2018).

To be fair, yesterday's game was a recipe for a loss. The Cowboys were riding high on their five-game win streak. They knew that all they needed was one win in their next three games to clinch the NFC East.

Meanwhile, the Colts are part of a cluster of teams vying for the last Wild Card spot in the AFC. One loss could be the difference between playing football in January or preparing for the offseason.

One team was comfortable and maybe a little complacent, and the other was desperate. Throw in home field and having a better quarterback, and Indianapolis was rightly favored to win the game.

But that 3-point spread was one thing, and Dallas losing 23-0 is another.

Other than their upset win over New Orleans, the Cowboys haven't exactly been taking on the cream of the NFL crop during this win streak. Atlanta is 5-9 and the Eagles and Redskins are both just 7-7.

This Colts game was a chance for Dallas to show its mettle against a legitimate playoff contender. They'd failed throughout the year, losing to Carolina, Seattle, Houston, and Tennessee. But that was before they got hot and got Amari Cooper going.

This game needed to be different. But instead, it was very familiar.

Once again, Jason Garrett's Cowboys couldn't seal the deal. They got outclassed by a team which, by all appearances, is equal to them in talent.

Is the Cowboys 2018 Season Circling the Drain? 1

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Panic mode is silly when it comes to Dallas making the playoffs. If they can't get a win over the next two weeks with the Bucs and Giants on the schedule, they don't deserve to be there anyway.

The Cowboys should still win the NFC East regardless of what happened yesterday, but now the concern is if this team is really ready for the playoffs. Because a legit playoff team just made us look like hot garbage.

In the 2014 and 2016 seasons, we've taken solace in how close those games have been. If the Dez catch had been called correctly, or if Aaron Rodgers hadn't pulled that throw to Jared Cook out of his butt, the Cowboys might have very well advanced to the NFC Championship. They were contenders, and they took those games down to the wire.

But is this Dallas team a contender, or are they going to be the champions of a weak division? Will they compete in January?

That's the scary thought that yesterday's disaster leaves me with. On average, Jason Garrett has these guys motivated to play. Even when you question the X's and O's, the team almost always seems to play hard.

But they didn't in Indianapolis. They appeared to be resting on the laurels of their win streak and seemingly inevitable division title, and that's concerning with playoff games on the horizon.

Maybe this game was exactly the kind of wake-up call that this young roster needed. This isn't 2016 again; you're not rolling into the playoffs as a 13-win juggernaut.

A good coach uses a game like this to help his team learn and grow. It's actually great for them if it eradicates any potential complacency that had set in.

But that means Jason Garrett has to overcome his history. We've been let down too many times already.



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Nation, It’s Time To Take a Deep Breath

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Warts And All, Dak Prescott Shows Why It's Not So Easy To Move On

It's difficult to find the words after watching the Dallas Cowboys perform (if you can even call it that) the way they did against the Indianapolis Colts. The team's five-game winning streak came to an end in a disappointing showing in literally every phase of the game. The Cowboys walked away from this game with zero points on the board... zero. It's the first time this franchise is shutout since 2003.

And despite such a bad game, guess what? There's no need to panic. No, the Cowboys' season is not over. No, it's not the end of the world. Even if Cowboys Twitter tries to tell you otherwise. I'm here to ask you to take a deep breath...

The Dallas Cowboys are still one win away from being the 2018 NFC East Champions.

Now, granted, the loss was definitely painful and disappointing. It would've been great to watch Dallas get a statement win on the road against such a hot team. With the defense playing lights out all year, it was odd to watch them get picked apart by Andrew Luck and crushed by Marlon Mack. Tackling was disastrous as was the lack of pressure on the opposing quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, an already concerning unit managed to scare us even more. Play calling remains unbearable to watch, Dak Prescott continues to hold the ball for too long as he refuses to throw it away, and the offensive line's downfall continues With Zack Martin out, Connor Williams didn't really help much as the entire unit got consistently beat by the Colts' defense. Not even Amari Cooper, who had been owning the NFL since week 9, was able to put up a decent showing this time around.

Everything that could have gone wrong, went horribly wrong. And yet, the Cowboys control their own destiny.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis 1

They don't depend on the outcomes of any third party as they did in 2017. Sitting at 8-6, abandoning all hope on this team makes no sense. In today's NFL, every football franchise is bound to have a bad game from time to time. That's why the Seattle Seahawks (who currently have a Wild Card spot) fell this week to the 4-10 San Francisco 49ers. That's also why the New England Patriots have suffered losses in back-to-back weeks. Even the Los Angeles Rams, the second seed in the NFC at the moment, were stunned by the Nick Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles!

It's a competitive league. It's as simple as that. If there's one thing we've learned this season is that once January football is on, any given team can beat any other on the Playoffs. The New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Chargers have all proven to be beatable teams.

The Cowboys falling on the road against a very legit threat in the AFC is far from the end of the season. It's high time we learn to avoid recency bias and stop making our final judgments on teams or players based on the last game we saw.

The Dallas Cowboys can still run the football. They have an offense capable of controlling the time of possession. And their defense is still a great unit with a quality pass rush and a great set of linebackers.

So, Cowboys Nation, I invite you to take a deep breath and repeat after me: "The Cowboys are still one win away from the NFC East title and are one pretty good football team." Seriously, the season is far from over.

On to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Nation, It’s Time To Take a Deep Breath" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis

In a game we all hoped would clinch the NFC East division, the Dallas Cowboys instead got shut out by the Indianapolis Colts in one of their worst performances of the season. It was a deplorable performance in every aspect of the game and something we hope to never see again.

I knew sooner or later the Dallas Cowboys self-inflicted wounds would catch up to them, and that's exactly what happened against the Colts. They had far too many penalties and mental mistakes once again and it allowed Indianapolis to take over the game. The Cowboys beat themselves plain and simple.

Before I get on a rant about yesterday's game, I better stick to the topic at hand and share with you what I believe to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys. As always, please feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

The Good

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

In a game where just about everything went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys it sometimes a little difficult to find any kind of silver lining. That was the case this week after the Cowboys were shut out by the Indianapolis Colts. But, the good for me is that Dallas still holds their playoff fate in their hands, despite the embarrassing loss.

Any thoughts of sitting any of the starters for the Cowboys has now gone out the window. They absolutely have to play to win to close out the 2018 regular-season, because they failed to do what needed to be done against the Colts to secure the NFC East division title. Luckily though, it didn't close the door on their playoff aspirations.

With the Buccaneers and Giants left remaining on their schedule, the Cowboys will have to find some way to get back to their winning ways. Hopefully this was just the slap in the face they needed in order to put things in perspective. They simply can't afford another showing like they had against Indianapolis at any point moving forward.

The Bad

Xavier Su'a-flio

Dallas Cowboys LG Xavier Su'a-flio

I knew exactly what I was going to put in the section as soon as it happened during the game. The bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts for me was without a doubt their banged up, patched together offensive line.

The Cowboys were forced to go with a patchwork offensive line for the majority of the game against the Colts yesterday afternoon after Xavier Su'a-flio left the game after an eye injury, forcing the Cowboys to go with their third string offensive guard Adam Redmond. Su'a-flio immediately had to leave the stadium to have his eye examined by an optometrist, suggesting that it was a pretty significant injury.

Unfortunately, another injury on the OL for the Cowboys leaves them severely thin depth wise at the most inopportune time. Hopefully a week of rest has done Zack Martin's injured knee some good and he will be able to return to the lineup as soon as possible. That would allow Connor Williams to move back to LG and hopefully solidify the offensive line once again.

The Ugly

Marlon Mack, Chidobe Awuzie

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack

Maybe I underestimated the Indianapolis Colts offense or maybe I just overrated the Dallas Cowboys defense, but something was clearly off yesterday afternoon on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys. After being so good nearly all season, they were just plain ugly against Indianapolis.

The Cowboys defense didn't have an answer for the Colts offense, especially in the running game. Marlon Mack, a solid runner although not spectacular, completely gashed the Cowboys usually stout run defense. He ran for 139 rushing yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, something that's been unheard of against Dallas' run D.

I was honestly completely shocked he had so much success. There were far too many missed tackles and blown assignments to my liking and I believe the coaching staff will make sure to focus on clearing that up moving forward. This team can't afford to let opposing offenses control the clock with their rushing attack. That's the Cowboys MO.

What's your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against Indianapolis?



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