So this morning was kind of like the walk of shame for me. After hearing the news of our beloved Sean Lee while humiliated and full of doom and gloom I said and did things yesterday that should never be repeated.
So I woke up this morning thinking, "OK, no Sean Lee equals no problem. We were the worst defense in the league last year with him for most of the season so we can't get much worse. Right? Right?!?!?!
As I'm doing my walk of shame through the house and out to the truck I'm hoping like anyone else doing the walk of shame to go unnoticed. But nooooooooooooooo! As soon as I crank my truck the first thing I hear on the radio (local sports talk mind you, that has an NFL team of their own called the Panthers, just proving the point of being America's Team) is that the Cowboys season is over because we have zero chances of winning the NFC East.
Here are the reasons they listed.
1. No Demarcus Ware
2 .No Jason Hatcher
3. No Sean Lee
Now keep in mind that we had those 3 guys last year and still had the 32nd ranked defense in the league with an 8-8 record and a chance to win the division in week 17. But facts be damned. When it comes to America's Team we don't need no stinking facts.
So let me attack each of these one by one.
1. Demarcus Ware - The man holds a special place in all of Cowboys Nation's heart. Hall of Famer, Ring of Honor, all time Cowboys sack leader and on top of all of that an all around great human being. But lets be honest. The man's game has been on a steep decline for quite sometime now. This is no knock on him at all. He is physically beaten all to hell. His days of domination are over. He might post double digit sacks next year but that means squat to me. His time as DA MAN is over. His 6 sacks and health proved that to me. So outside of character and leadership type things his production from last year is replaceable.
Enter DeMarcus Lawrence. A guy the Cowboys thought enough of to use 2 top 100 picks on. Call it desperation or whatever you want but even as a rookie I have a hard time imagining that he won't come at least come close if not surpass those 6 sacks by himself. Throw in guys like Mincey, Selvie, Crawford, and "hopefully" Spencer after he comes off the pup list (which we all know that is where he is headed) and I really don't see the glaring hole at DE that a lot of people do.
So to me. For this season the situation is a wash. For the future I think it's a win.
2. Jason Hatcher - Now I'm not discounting the fact that Hatcher was a complete beast last year. But I'm plugging in Henry Melton who is 5 years younger and a whole helluva lot cheaper and I feel like we are going to get close to the same type of production. Now will he get 11 sacks? Probably not. But I'm willing to be my pay check that Hatcher never sniffs 11 sacks again either. I 100% believe that Melton will bounce back from his injury and be the disruptive force that he was while playing.
I also think Tyrone Crawford will be seeing a lot of time inside at the 3 or 1 in passing situations and I happen to think that those two guys together will make people completely forget about Hatcher and his ONE good year.
So to me. We have improved here. I honestly believe that these two guys will make this defense run next year.
3. Sean Lee - No way around it. A complete gut punch. Great defenses are made up the middle with good defensive tackles, middle linebackers, and good safeties. I'm not the only one but I'm one of the few that believe in the Church & Wilcox tandem and as you can see above I strongly believe in the Crawford, Melton, and rest of the rushmen combination. But losing Sean Lee is an ass kicker. If I can pour any sunshine on this at all it is that it happened in May. This gives the team to do the absolute best it can do at replacing Lee for this season. I'm personally looking forward to the battle between Devonte Holloman and Anthony Hitchens. And I'm assuming they bring in a veteran off the street. But here is where my real hope comes into play. Remember in 2012 when Lee went down with the toe injury and Bruce Carter stepped in and did an amazing job? I firmly believe that in large part that was due to Sean Lee's leadership and teaching. And we all know it will happen again. Whoever is in that linebacker meeting room will be well prepared. Will they be as good as Lee? Hell no. But Lee will make sure that they aren't the reason this defense falters.
So to me. Of course we lose in this situation because it's Sean Freakin Lee and anytime you lose Chuck Norris it hurts. But it will not determine the fate of our season.
To sum everything up, and that's a lot of stuff, I do not for one second think that losing Sean Lee flushes the Dallas Cowboys season down the tubes.
And with the additions of Rod Maranelli as DC, Scott Linehan as OC, mixed in with a young offensive line that is on the verge of becoming dominant, a 1,000 yard RB in Murray, a top 5 WR in Dez, a HOF TE in Witten, and a QB in Tony Romo that gives you a chance to win every time he steps on the field haters be damned, YOU DAMN RIGHT I THINK THIS TEAM CAN WIN THE DIVISION AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.