When they have been on the field together, the combination of Sean Lee and Rolando McClain has been absolutely spectacular. By having McClain, the Cowboys were able to move Lee to the weakside linebacker position this season. The result has led to less hits for Lee, which means he’s less susceptible to injury.
With two studs like Lee and McClain, the Cowboys can get extremely creative with their defense. Because of their middle linebacker backgrounds, both are no strangers to taking on blocks and finding the ball-carrier. Here’s an exactly of the Cowboys’ “plugger” defense, a defense where one of the two can take up a blocker to free the other to let him make the tackle:
In this defense, we have McClain and Lee lined up next to each other. There’s about a three-yard gap in between the two players. Let’s watch how this play develops:
Because McClain comes up to take on an offensive linemen, it frees Lee, giving him the opportunity to make a tackle for a loss. This just goes to show McClain’s “plugger” role in the defense. The next play will be showing off his vision:
On this play, McClain overruns the ball-career. Because the hole collapses, Alfred Morris tries cutting it inside, but McClain’s uses his field vision as well as his athleticism to keep Morris from getting a huge gain.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, McClain truly is a lock to come back. He might attract more money from other teams, but the Cowboys were the last team to give him a chance. There have been some rough spots at times, but he fits perfectly as the inside linebacker next to Lee in Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defense.
Dallas will have its hands full this offseason in terms of decision-making, but McClain is extremely talent and he is a guy that the Cowboys will be able to bring back at a bargain.