It really is amazing that Tim Lincecum has ever thrown a pitch without it being intercepted by Sean Lee.
Allow me to explain.
On Sunday evening the Pro Bowl for the 2015 NFL season took place. The starting quarterback for "Team Rice" was Eli Manning. Our favorite awkward face'd Giant tossed a pass that was tipped and fell right into the arms of Sean Lee.
As if it wasn't symbolic enough that the Dallas Cowboys trump the New York Giants, the residents of the Big Apple just couldn't leave Hawaii without embarrassing themselves just a little but further.
On a fake extra point, this is the Pro Bowl to be fair, Team Rice Kicker Josh Brown (another proud New York Giant) did his best Eli impersonation... literally.
Josh showed the world why his involvement with professional football revolves around the body part as far away from his arm as possible when he went full Eli and threw an interception to Sean Lee.
Lesson of the day? Sean Lee will intercept any Giant: New York, San Francisco, fictional, whatever. He owns them.
Sean Lee owned a lot of people in 2015. He set a career high in tackles with 76 and, despite an "always injured" reputation, started 14 games for the Dallas Cowboys.
Oh and he did all of that after missing the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL (hence the reputation).
"The General" put an exclamation point on his 2015 with his Double Giant Interception (we call that a DGI here at ITS, my name is RJ so I like acronyms a lot...) in the Pro Bowl, but it was no anomaly for the season. Sean's performance merits some serious consideration for an award that is literally designated for players who have a great year after some type of trial... the NFL's Comeback Player Of The Year.
Now the overwhelming favorite to win the CPOY is Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs. Berry battled his way back onto the playing field from Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The air that Berry breathes in and out every second is a true testament to why he should win this award, throw in his performance in 2015 and it's a lock. I won't argue that.
All due respect to Eric Berry, if not for him would this be Sean Lee's to lose? The national media would, hypocritically, tell you that perhaps Adrian Peterson is worthy of winning it. Peterson did lead the league in rushing yards after missing a majority of 2014 (thanks to some pretty severe child abuse charges that people have conveniently forgotten), and from a strictly football perspective that's obviously impressive.
Arizona's Carson Palmer rebounded from the exact same injury that Sean Lee had, and Lee's Penn State teammate NaVorro Bowman missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL and MCL. Both are worthy nominees, but would they top Lee?
It's hard to compare Palmer to either equally given that his influence on a game is much larger, but Bowman did lead the NFL in tackles (and Lee significantly). Bowman and Lee tied for the season in sacks (2.5 each), but Lee has him beat in the interceptions category (a whopper of a lead... 1-0).
When considering things fully this award rightfully belongs to Eric Berry, and if it weren't him it'd be hard to argue against NaVorro Bowman. All I'm saying is Sean Lee deserves some love. He's certainly in the top five for the award and deserves to at least be a nominee during NFL Honors on Saturday night. Sean was a big reason why the Cowboys were competitive when they were and Cowboys Nation wants him honored in any way that he can be for that effort.
Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?
It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.
These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.
Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.
Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.
This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.
Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.
The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.
It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.
Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.
As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.
For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
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