It took linebacker Sean Lee two games to knock himself out of action for a few weeks. In the past, this would have been the end of days for the defense.
Not so much in 2018.
Most importantly though, they have held down the fort, sans Lee.
Last year, in six games that Lee missed due to injury, the Dallas Cowboys allowed 29.3 points per game. They gave up 135.3 yards per game rushing on 4.6 yards per carry.
This year, in essentially two games, they have shaved five points per game, 30 rushing yards per game and a full yard per carry off those numbers without him.
There is no doubt Lee is needed back as soon as possible but it’s not an immediate sign of gloom with him missing.
This was another tough group to grade. Three guys are playing lights out and the rest are playing like the lights are out.
Moving Byron Jones to cornerback and putting him under the tutelage of Kris Richard has been a revelation for the defense. Per Pro Football Focus, Jones was the highest graded corner in 2018. He did nothing to hurt that grade Sunday, as Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford did not throw a single ball his way.
Opposite Jones, Chidobe Awuzie has come into his own as well. Even though he’s getting “attacked” more than Jones, he’s holding up pretty well. Safety Jeff Heath has been playing well too in the first month of the season.
Beyond those three though, this group needs work. Kavon Frazier, Anthony Brown and Xavier Woods were all responsible for four touchdown plays in two weeks. Three of them went for 38, 45 and 52 yards respectively.
Clearly, that has to improve quickly.