TO LEE OR NOT SEAN LEE
One crucial battle that simply cannot be overvalued, involves MLB Sean Lee and RB LeSean McCoy. It takes a VERY instinctive, aggressive defender like Lee to counter the speed, explosion, and versatility of McCoy.
Lee never faced the Eagles last season due to injury. In 2011 his importance to counteracting McCoy was illustrated perfectly in their first meeting of the season.
Once Lee went down after 20 plays, aged veteran Keith Brooking took over. Lee had surrendered only 1 catch. Brooking allowed another 7 receptions for 88 yards.
In the first meeting this season, Lee was on hand for the entire game and the results were vastly different. He totaled 9 tackles while the Cowboys’ defense limited McCoy to a measly 18 rushes for 55 yards (3.0 ypc).
Lee’s play in coverage certainly was dominant. In 7 targets his way, only 3 were completed for 10 total yards. He even snuffed out the only completion attempted his way to McCoy for a 7 yard loss.
McCoy ended his day with 6 catches and only 1 on Sean Lee. The Eagles were forced to move him all around as he completed short catches on 5 different Cowboys for only 26 total yards.
While at the moment we don’t know the status of Sean Lee, one must assume the prognosis is not good regarding a dangerous injury area like the neck.
Without Sean, Dallas truly does not have solid answers for the Eagles’ talented, versatile RB’s and TE’s. As unusual as this sounds, against this one particular team, Sean Lee is debatably more valuable than QB Tony Romo.
Less than stellar QB’s (Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel) have recently scorched this soft Eagles’ pass defense for over 300 yards each. It’s been proven already this season.
Covering the Eagles’ dominant RB’s and TE’s without Lee is almost defensive suicide. With over 1,500 receiving yards, they are the critical key to opening up the rest of the field for Nick Foles.