It looks like the Dallas Cowboys won’t have to wait until September to find out if Sean Lee can last a full season at linebacker. Just as Tony Romo put everyone’s mind at ease when he returned from back surgery to lead the Cowboys through their first organized team activities, Lee provoked the worriers further by injuring his knee.
Doctors fear it is a torn ACL, which would mean Lee is lost for the season.
This latest setback is just another chapter in Lee’s Dallas career. When he’s healthy, Lee is the Cowboys’ most versatile linebacker. Blessed with incredible natural instincts, he can effectively blitz and tackle, plus he is the best cover linebacker on the team. His issue is staying healthy.
Lee’s injury would be a tremendous setback for any NFL team, but it’s absolutely brutal for the Dallas defense.
Lee’s injury would be a tremendous setback for any NFL team, but it’s absolutely brutal for the Dallas defense, which is woefully short on depth following a record-breaking season in terms of futility.
It’s just another reminder of how Jerry Jones’ draft philosophy — make a big splash by drafting well-known players while squandering draft picks along the way — doesn’t work in today’s NFL. Sure, Jones managed to resist picking Johnny Manziel this year, but he turned around and burned a third-round pick to move up and grab a pass rusher in the second round.
That third-round pick may have been a linebacker to start in place of Lee. Instead, Dallas must hold their collective breaths and hope that whoever ends up in Lee’s spot can play.
Injuries in the NFL are just a part of the game, and the good teams learn to cope without star players because they have a solid group behind the big names. Last year, Seattle sent a first-round pick to Minnesota for Percy Harvin in order to have a big play threat. He missed all but one regular season game for the Seahawks, then suffered a concussion in the playoffs. The team made it to the Super Bowl without him.
Two years ago, the Ravens lost the heart and soul of the team in Ray Lewis for much of the season, yet still made the playoffs, where Lewis helped them make a Super Bowl run. The Patriots managed to go 11-5 the year Tom Brady was lost for the season with an injured knee. The good teams move on.
Lee has managed to play in exactly half of the games for Dallas over the past two seasons. Though that seems perfectly fitting for a team that annually goes .500, it doesn’t give fans much confidence that the Cowboys will manage to pull out of their consistent state of mediocrity.
Meanwhile, Jones will continue to give away draft picks like a Good Samaritan at Christmas. It’s the Cowboy way — and it will once again haunt this team as the 2014 season wears on.