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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

Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson Benefits Most From Terrance Williams Issue

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson Benefits Most From Terrance Williams Issue

The fallout from Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday remains to be seen. Whether or not it costs him a roster spot is hard to say, but a suspension is likely. Whatever the case, veteran Deonte Thompson stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Terrance's issues.

Signed last March to a minimal one-year, $1.8 million contract, Thompson is a 29-year-old late bloomer who only last season got some notice in Buffalo. Given the limitations of the Bills' passing game with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Dallas clearly hopes that Deonte could do more with a more traditional offense and passer.

The Cowboys acquisition of Thompson was quickly overshadowed after they picked up Allen Hurns just a few weeks later. Deonte was actually signed just a couple of days after Hurns' release from Jacksonville, so it's fair to question if Dallas would have even signed him if they'd already picked up Hurns.

Even with Dez Bryant's release, the depth chart still didn't look good for Thompson. He was clearly behind Hurns and Cole Beasley and was likely battling with Terrance Williams for targets. Once the team drafted Michael Gallup in the third round, things looked even worse for the veteran.

Deonte Thompson

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson

But now, if Williams is going to miss time or be gone completely, Deonte Thompson could find himself with a big role to start the year.

While Gallup is exciting, he's also a rookie. Thompson has been a starter the last few years and played in a few different systems. Dallas may lean on his experience early if Terrance is gone either temporarily or permanently.

One reason the Cowboys brought Deonte in was for speed, and that value doesn't change regardless of who else is on the roster. Essentially, Thompson is the new Brice Butler; intriguing qualities but just no consistent production at other stops.

If Deonte can do more with what Dallas throws him than Butler did, he might carve out a steady role. Brice always seemed to follow up his big plays with blunders, never gaining any real momentum during his time as a Cowboy.

Before Williams' arrest, there was a legitimate question as to whether or not Thompson would even make the 2018 roster. If younger prospects like Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir made noise, perhaps Dallas would've just let the 29-year-old walk.

But with Terrance's availability now the big question, Thompson's experience becomes vastly more important. It could mean a big early role in 2018.

Depending on what he does with his opportunity, Deonte Thompson could've gone from an offseason afterthought to a major part of the team's success.


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Player News

Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

Sean Martin

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Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

This will hardly be the last article written about the wide receivers of the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2018 season. However, we can only hope it's the last off-field incident that will factor into the difficult decisions the Cowboys will make on their final depth chart at WR. Yesterday, veteran Wide Receiver Terrance Williams was arrested for public intoxication after leaving the scene of a crash involving his Lamborghini.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys WR Terrance Williams released a statement on his recent arrest detailing several facets of the incident: "I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how.

Details concerning the severity of the incidents that led to Williams arrest remain somewhat unclear. His on-field production certainly has not been though, putting himself in an expendable position by failing to catch a touchdown in 2017 and only going for over 100 yards once.

Handling this Terrance Williams situation in whatever the "right way" is will be yet another critical decision the Cowboys make under Head Coach Jason Garrett. A team that has clearly valued continuity under Garrett, there is precedent for the Cowboys keeping a now-troubled player like Williams if the void he'd leave behind is too large.

It is widely believed that this is a Cowboys coaching staff working to keep their jobs in 2018. Losing Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Terrance Williams in one offseason may very well be too much.

Already dealing with a broken foot that expects to keep Terrance Williams out of football activities until training camp though, it is becoming increasingly easier for Williams to become forgotten about in new WR Coach Sanjay Lal's room.

New additions to this unit include FA signings Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, along with rookies Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Joined by the likes of KD Cannon, Lance Lenoir, and Malik Earl, all of these receivers are going to stake their claims for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys before Williams even catches another pass from Dak Prescott.

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Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Once perceived to be fighting for positions below Hurns, Williams, and Cole Beasley as locks on the final 53 man roster, Williams' arrest is the epitome of "next man up" in Dallas. Even if Williams remains with the team in 2018 - as cutting him would only make moral sense for the Cowboys, not financial - his days as a starting receiver may very well be numbered.

As mentioned, this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best.

Tell us what you think about "Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Arrest: Salary Cap Impact if Released

Jess Haynie

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3 Current Starters Cowboys' Fans Hate, But Shouldn't 1

The news of Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday sent a shockwave through an otherwise quiet mid-May news cycle. Many fans are wondering what the team might do, and what effect the decision could have on Dallas' salary cap.

Unfortunately, moving on from Terrance won't bring the team any cap relief. But given their current cap space and where we are in the offseason, the Cowboys should have the freedom to cut the receiver if they choose to.

Depending on who you ask (OverTheCap, Spotrac), the Cowboys have somewhere between $5-$9 million in current cap room. If they release Williams before June 1st, his cap hit accelerates from $4.75 million to $7.25 million in dead money. That means he counts $2.5 million more off the team than on it.

If Terrance is cut on June 1st on later, the 2018 dead money is $4.75 million for a net-zero wash. That extra $2.5 million counts against 2019.

While that may sound cost-prohibitive on the surface, you have to remember where we are in the offseason.  May is very different from March when you're talking about cap space.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Free agency is essentially over. The Cowboys don't need to worry too much about their 2018 cap room at this point, so they can absorb Williams' dead money if they want to cut him loose.

Helping matters should be the eventual new contracts for Guard Zack Martin and Defense End DeMarcus Lawrence.

Martin's 2018 cap hit is currently around $9 million. Once he signs his new long-term deal, which is almost sure to come before training camp, that number should go down significantly. Dallas can do an immediate Year One restructure and potentially create around $6 million in cap space.

That alone would facilitate cutting Terrance Williams, but then they also have the hopeful new deal for Lawrence. The $17 million that Lawrence currently counts as a franchised player will go way down with a long-term contract. If Dallas can get that done, they may not have to touch Martin's deal.

The point here is that while cutting Williams is not a financially beneficial move, the money shouldn't stop the Cowboys if they don't want him around anymore.

If Terrance has proven anything during his five years in Dallas, it's that he doesn't have the talent to step into a primary role. With new arrival Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley both showing they can produce at a high level at times, plus exciting rookie Michael Gallup now in the mix, the Cowboys' season hardly relies on Williams' presence.

Of course, the Cowboys have a history of sticking by their guys during times of personal problems. Josh Brent did way worse than Terrance and remained supported by the organization.

But each situation and player are different, and the coaches may have already soured on Williams after a lackluster 2017. They may have only kept him because of those cap numbers we discussed before.

Terrance's latest dropped ball may have been the final straw, though. If so, the salary cap shouldn't stop Dallas from cutting him.


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