One of the many unwanted events that came out of last week’s loss against the Atlanta Falcons, was the re-injurization of veteran linebacker Sean Lee. The All-Pro linebacker was forced to leave the game towards the end of the first quarter due to his hamstring, and he will also be absent this Sunday when we play the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles. Why is this important? How about the Cowboys are 5-1 with Lee playing, and 0-3 without him. It’s not only his ability and skill that make him a good player. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence said about Lee,
“Sean is just a remarkable leader. He makes sure everybody is situated and straight. He controls the defense.”
Chances are that four year veteran Anthony Hitchens will take his spot at weak-side linebacker. Hitchens finished last Sunday’s game with a team high of 10 tackles. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli stated that “he feels great about Hitch(ens)” and that he will “carry the load”. He has had experience at playing many different positions and prepares for it by studying the film not only for his position, but for other positions as well.
“I try to make it easier on myself by studying throughout the week. You never know what’s going to happen…Unfortunately, early in my career I did it a lot, so now when I’m watching film, I’m never watching just what I’ve got to do. I’m watching so to see what everyone’s job is”
The linebackers stepping up and taking Hitchens spot will most likely be Jaylon Smith and 11-year veteran Justin Durant. This is Smith’s first season playing after coming off his first year recouping from a knee injury he received his last year at Notre Dame. Durant has not been active for a month due to injuries (out two weeks) and roster constraints. The defense knows what they have to do and that this game against the Eagles will not be easy. “We have to be aggressive, we have to know our assignment and just go out and do it,” Durant said “We can’t hold anything back. We all have made plays in this league, so we just have to go out there and do it.” Let’s hope they do just that.
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