Sean Lee was a damned good middle linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Not only does he possess the physical skills necessary to succeed at the position, Lee is also a devout student of the game. During time lost to injury, both in college and the NFL, #50 managed to find himself in a role as an "extra" position coach working with his fellow linebackers. Lee is a natural for the slot. Unfortunately his style of play, no holds barred, also leaves him vulnerable to injury.
Having Rolando McClain and his revitalized career on the roster allowed the Dallas defense the opportunity to move their defensive leader to the 'Will' role and to stack Lee behind a defensive lineman to limit his exposure to unnecessary contact. The move paid off in 2015 as Lee was not lost for any significant period of time and he made his first trip to the Pro Bowl. With McClain still under contract for the 2016 season, and Jaylon Smith clearly drafted to be the future at middle linebacker once he heals, Lee's future as the Cowboys 'Will' seemed set in stone.
With McClain incurring the wrath of Roger Goodell there has been some speculation that a move back to the middle might be in the cards for Lee. It is a move the team clearly does not want to take, yet one that could be forced upon them if Rod Marinelli cannot come up with a combination that will work effectively for Dallas. For now though, the Cowboys and Lee continue to see his future as being the same as it was last season.
Sean Lee on staying at weak-side LB: "Right now they have me at the WILL and I think I'll stay there. We have guys who can play that MIKE."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) July 31, 2016
This means that somebody is going to have to step up for Dallas. With McClain declining to be involved with the "voluntary" off eason activities, the Cowboys were given some opportunities to try some combinations out. It seems like they have found a grouping or two that they think will work out and allow them to keep Sean Lee on the outside. No doubt Rod Marinelli and Matt Eberflus have some contingency plans locked away that involve moving the former Penn State star back to the middle, but for now it looks like those are being kept under lock and key.
Let's hope they stay filed away and Dallas can continue to do what they can to limit the toll the game takes on Lee.