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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.

Player News

Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.

DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.

Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.

After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.

There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?

David Moore on Twitter

Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.

For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys

What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?

First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.

It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.

It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Dallas Cowboys OL Fails To Crack NFL.com’s Top 10

Kevin Brady

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Often considered a top unit in football, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line seemed to take a step back in 2017. Mostly due to injuries and free agent departures on the left side, the Cowboys were unable to form the same solid unit we have seen in years past.

Despite their struggles, most would still consider them a top 5-10 offensive line in the NFL. At least, that's what I'd expect considering they still feature three All-Pro caliber players upfront.

Matt Harmon of NFL.com put together a list of the top 10 offensive lines in football based on performance in the 2017 season. The list was strictly developed through the use of next gen stats, which defined pressure as "pass-rushing play in which a defender gets within 2 yards of the opposing quarterback at the time of the throw or sack." In addition, "yards gained before close" was taken into account. This metric is meant to measure "the amount of rushing yards a running back gains before opposing defenders come within 1 yard of the player."

After compiling all of these stats, the Cowboys offensive line was left off of the list completely. Maybe even more surprising, however, was that the Philadelphia Eagles' line failed to crack the top ten as well. That's two lines with 3-4 Pro Bowl caliber players each missing the cut.

According to Matt Harmon the Cowboys allowed a pressure on 28.6% of Dak Prescott's dropbacks, 12th highest in the league. Dallas also ranked 20th in the league in YGBC in 2017.

While I do have some issues with the methodology of these statistics, the final result is actually hard to argue with. Down the stretch the Cowboys offense was downright pathetic at times. Regardless of how highly we thought of them prior to the year, the offense didn't perform to their standards, or the standards of a top ten unit.

Heading into 2018, however, I do expect this offensive line to begin to regain form. La'el Collins should continue to improve on the right side, and he is already an adequate starting right tackle regardless. I also expect Dallas to address their left guard spot, potentially within the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In the end the success of this line may hinge on the health of Tyron Smith, though. When healthy, Smith is the best left tackle in all of football. But that "when healthy" caveat has certainly hurt the Cowboys offense.

The way the front office handles their offensive line this offseason will play a huge role in the success, or lack thereof, of the Cowboys in 2018.


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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

After playing sparsely for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, veteran cornerback Bene Benwikere is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Could he stay in Dallas, or will he have to find work elsewhere?

Dallas was concerned about its CB depth with heavy reliance on young players and Jourdan Lewis barely participating in the offseason. Therefore, the Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Benwikere just before Week One.

After a stellar rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2014, Bene had suffered a steep fall before landing in Cincy. Injuries and poor play got him cut midway through 2016 by the Panthers, and then Benwikere bounced from Miami to Green Bay before finally signing with the Bengals in the 2017 offseason.

Though a few years removed from being an All-Rookie Team standout, Bene Benwikere is still just 26 and may still draw interest from scouts who remember his better days. He is likely counting on that, because the Cowboys' secondary is starting to fill up.

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Bene Benwikere (#23)

The Cowboys currently have exciting sophomores Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis expected to start in 2018. Anthony Brown is back for his third season and will be active on game days.

Orlando Scandrick's future is cloudy, but Dallas won't get much cap relief from releasing him this season. They may elect to keep the veteran for one more year, which would all but fill out the CB depth chart.

Even if Scandrick leaves, talk that Dallas may move Byron Jones back to corner from safety would only leave Benwikere in the same disadvantaged position for finding work.

The best chance that Bene Benwikere has to stay with the Cowboys is if new Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard remembers him from 2014. Coaches often feel that can get more out of a player than the last guy, and Richard may see potential in Benwikere that his last few teams couldn't unlock.

Four years ago may be too long, though, and especially with a fresh new crop of young players coming into the league. Especially if they keep Scandrick, Dallas may want to use the rest of their roster spots on younger prospects.

As it stands, Bene Benwikere is unlikely to return to the Cowboys. However, given the flashes of potential he once showed in the NFL, you can't be certain that Dallas won't want to give him one more chance.


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