The biggest concern for the Dallas Cowboys when it came to their offseason and 2014 NFL Draft was to fix a defense that ranked as the worst in the NFL in 2013. They lost DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher and picked up some names that barely covered those losses. However, a new Sean Lee injury might have put the nail in the coffin of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys season, as the linebacker suffered an ACL tear on Tuesday in practice.
After three straight seasons of making it to the final game of the NFL season and needing a win to make the playoffs, only to lose, this might be Jason Garrett’s last chance to save his job. The Cowboys offense is still potent, but the defense from 2013 gave up more points than all but one team in NFL history. Without Sean Lee, they might not have a chance to get much better.
This is nothing unusual for Sean Lee, the heat and soul of the Cowboys’ defense. In 2008, Lee tore his ACL in college and received a medical redshirt. He played in 2009 and did well enough for Dallas to choose him in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He didn’t see a lot of action in that rookie season but was made a starter in 2011. He dislocated his wrist during the season but played through the injury.
In 2012, he broke his right big toe after six games and missed the rest of his season. In 2013, Lee had hamstring and neck problems and missed five of the Cowboys’ final six games of the season. He is expected to miss the entire 2014 NFL season with this latest injury, his second ACL tear. The injury happened when Lee was blocked by first round draft pick Zack Martin.
When Lee was hurt in 2013, Dallas used Justin Durant, Ernie Sims and DeVonte Holloman in his position. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Dallas chose Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens to serve as Lee’s backup. Hitchens played weak side linebacker in college and is trying to learn the middle linebacker position, something he said is difficult. Hitchens needs to really step it up now, because the Sean Lee injury will put the Dallas Cowboys in a very bad spot in 2014.