The biggest downside to the Dallas Cowboys win on Monday Night Football was the hamstring issue that befell WLB Sean Lee. Hamstrings can be a lingering issue that need time to heal. On the official injury report, which you can see below, Lee is listed as questionable and hasn't practiced all week.
Mike Fisher from 105.3 The Fan and CowboysHQ.com confirmed that Lee didn't practice and perhaps more telling didn't meet with the media on Friday, as he usually does.
Sean Lee (ham) DNpractice today, also didn’t meet w media as usually does Fri. Both actions suggest down-arrow for #Cowboys game likelihood
— fishsports (@fishsports) September 29, 2017
So if Lee doesn't play, where do the Dallas Cowboys turn for the snaps at WLB?
In Rod Marinelli's 4-3 scheme, the weak side linebacker is one of the two or three most important positions. Losing a player of Sean Lee's caliber at a position of high importance is a bummer to say the least.
— SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) September 29, 2017
To me it's more likely that starting strong side linebacker Damien Wilson sees the majority of work at WILL if Sean Lee is absence this week. Wilson got some work there during the offseason and training camp during Lee's rest days.
During the offseason, Bryan Broaddus sat down with Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas and had this to say about Wilson. Here is the full transcript of that interview from July.
“But, what they were doing with him was when Sean Lee wasn't practicing, they were playing Damien Wilson as that sub linebacker.” “They were getting him ready if something were to happen with Lee. And that's a vital piece.” “Their attitude right now is, ‘hey, we just need to see how this thing plays out.' And hopefully we don't lose what they would consider a vital piece to their defense coming up in training camp.”
Bryan Broaddus – DallasCowboys.com
When Bryan Broaddus makes note of it, I do as well. He has excellent insight into the team. It looks like the Dallas Cowboys backup plan at WILL was Damien Wilson at the time.
It's not reasonable or realistic to expect Wilson to step in for Lee and be as effective as the All-Pro linebacker, but he has some ability that can help you make plays.
Elite coverage linebacker. pic.twitter.com/6V1k1nVd95
— PFF (@PFF) June 24, 2017
In 2016, when he was targeted, Wilson only allowed a passer rating of 67.5. That was the third best among linebackers last year.
If Lee isn't able to play on Sunday, I fully expect to see a lot of Damien Wilson lined up at weak side linebacker. You can't replace or replicate Sean Lee, but Wilson is no slouch. We just don't get to see enough of him because of the limited role of a strong side linebacker in today's NFL. It's certainly possible that veteran Justin Durant sees some time at WLB. That being said, I think Wilson will be the next man up.
We all would prefer to see Sean Lee play, but if he's unable to, this could create an opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys to see their future at WLB.
With Damien Wilson, that future could be awfully bright.