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Is LB Sean Lee Already In Mid-Season Form?

Brian Martin

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Outside of Cowboys Nation, Sean Lee doesn't receive the kind of recognition that he deserves. He is one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL, but unfortunately doesn't have the Pro Bowl credentials as others because of the position he plays. He is technically an OLB and has to contend with players like Von Miller for votes. But, that doesn't stop him from absolutely dominating on the field.

That is exactly what he did Sunday night in the Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants. The stats will say that he finished with eight tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss, but stats don't always tell the entire story. In my honest opinion, I think Sean Lee was largely responsible for how well the entire defense performed against Eli Manning and the Giants offense.

Since Sean Lee doesn't receive the kind of recognition he deserves, I thought I would share a few of his top plays against the Giants and prove to everyone once and for all just how good he is. Fortunately, Marcus Mosher posted the exact plays I was going to use of Sean Lee on twitter, which lessened my workload.

Continue reading below to witness for yourself exactly how impressive Sean Lee was against the Giants. I believe it will prove that he is already in mid-season form and that is great news for the Cowboys defense, but bad news for Dallas' upcoming opponents.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Sean Lee is so good at limiting yards after the catch. https://t.co/E62P9vL9WS

This pass by QB Eli Manning was just a step away from being a pick six by Sean Lee. If Lee were to have been a step or even half a step faster, he could've undercut this route and walked into the end zone for a TD.

Lee was a thorn in Manning's side the entire game and you can see why. The play was designed so that Engram could catch the ball on the run and pick up the first down, but Lee was there to make a sure tackle and force the Giants offense into yet another third-down situation. Like Marcus said, Lee is so good at limiting yards after the catch and the Cowboys defense is better for it.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Sean Lee is incredible. I don't know what else to say. https://t.co/wW4bk1kB0a

Incredible. Outstanding. Phenomenal. There are just so many words fitting to use here to describe Sean Lee's tackle for a loss. I would argue that Lee is the most prepared LB the entire NFL week after week. It looked as if he knew exactly what the Giants offense was planning to do here and beat them to the punch. That shows his dedication to film breakdown and knowing the tendencies of his opponent. I think his game preparedness is unmatched and hopefully rubs off on his young counterpart, Jaylon Smith.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Look at this play by Sean Lee. https://t.co/oyj5Q11WsC

The recognition by Sean Lee on this play was simply outstanding. The Giants offense was trying to vacate the zone underneath for Sterling Shepard by releasing TE Evan Engram up the field. Lee recognizes what the Giants are trying to do here and comes off of Engram to ensure Shepard doesn't pick up the first down. This would have been an easy first down pick up if not for Sean Lee's play, but the Giants were forced to punt instead.

Well, do you think Sean Lee is in mid-season form?



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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4 Comments
  • Jack Jacobs

    I thought Al and Chris totally missed this story on the telecast Sunday evening. I didn’t!

    • Brian Martin

      I guess it’s only natural considering all the hype there was for Jaylon Smith’s NFL debut. Everything else just seemed to lesson in importance.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Lee was/is exceptional. Good article Brian. Quick question – How long b4 Hitch returns? Rumor was he could be back sooner than 8 weeks. I so want to see the Trio of Lee, Hitch and Jaylon.

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for the compliment. Your guess is as good as mine as to when Hitchens returns. I would imagine it would be sometime after their bye week. So… Maybe Week 7 or 8.

Dallas Cowboys

Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?

Jess Haynie

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Barry Church

Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?

Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?

Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:

Jane Slater on Twitter

Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.

The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.

Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.

Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.

According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.

Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.

Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.



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Dallas Cowboys

How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week

Jess Haynie

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Jaylon Smith, Eagles

It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.

With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.

Here are the current standings:

  1. Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
  3. Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
  4. New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)

The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.

At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.

So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.

Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Thankful for Cooper in Division Win Over Redskins

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.

The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.

Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).

It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.

Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.

Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.

But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.



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Game Notes

#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone

Kevin Brady

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.

This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.

In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.

For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.

Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.

Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.



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