It was a terrible way to start the organized team activities for the Dallas Cowboys. On a routine play, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL and is now projected to miss the entire 2014 NFL season. It is a sad reality that Cowboys fans have been so used since Lee was drafted in 2010. Lee, a player with pro-bowl potential, has only played 32 games out of 48 in the last three years.
A lot of fans and media members are already spelling out doom for the season before it has already started. They point out that a defense that already was one of the worse in the league well be non-existent without Lee, the best defensive player on the team. I happen to agree with them that Lee is an important part of the team, but it is crazy to say we are doomed without Lee.
First off, Lee really hasn’t been around for the team to really take advantage of his great skills. Sure, we have seen some games where Lee absolutely takes over a game. In last season’s game with the Chargers, Lee had 18 tackles and then returned an interception for 52 yards. The bad part is that we don’t see that playmaking ability that often. Injuries strip Lee of all that potential and it is frustrating as a fan not to see it.
While, we would miss the high football I.Q, the leadership and the playmaking skills, the defense has gotten along without it. The last two seasons the defense was ranked near the bottom of the league, whether or not Lee was playing. Yet, the team, in large part thanks to the offense, has managed to be in contention for the playoffs in three straight years. The defense could get better and it has through various additions to the defensive line. Adding in Henry Melton, second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence and the return of Tyrone Crawford could help bring back the pass rush to the Dallas defense.
Linebackers Kyle Wilber and DeVonte Holloman can certainly step in and play well in the place of Lee. Linebacker Bruce Carter has potential to return to play-making form and the new rookie linebackers can help be great backups. Things aren’t as bad as they seem on the defensive side of the football.
Missing Lee will hurt this defense no doubt; losing that caliber of player will hurt any team. Yet, with the new additions to the defense and extra time now to find Lee’s replacement, the team can certainly overcome Lee’s absence and compete this year. So you guys can calmly step off the balconies now and get ready for football season. It will be a fun time.