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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?

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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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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

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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