One of the storylines of the season for the Dallas Cowboys has unquestionably been the emergence of rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
The NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for November has given the Cowboys a much-needed spark at linebacker and has helped them prosper in the absence of Sean Lee. The General has been dealing with an a hamstring issue ever since Dallas lost to the Tennessee Titans a few weeks ago, they are undefeated since then.
There have been a lot of discussions about how to handle the state of the linebacker position when Lee does return, but we’ve sort of relegated those to happening another day so as to live in the moment (where the Cowboys are riding a four-game winning streak). Immediately following the win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night Jerry Jones indicated that Lee could return to practice as soon as this week.
The Cowboys are hopeful Sean Lee can return to practice after this long weekend off. Jerry Jones said he is “almost giddy” at the thought of having Lee, LVE & Jaylon Smith all available for this home stretch #cowboyswire pic.twitter.com/UoWGULAMTA— David Helman (@HelmanDC) November 30, 2018
It’ll be a whole week before we see the Cowboys play another game, and on Sunday morning NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicated that it could be even longer before Sean Lee does in fact return. Apparently we could be looking at past this next game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
From @gmfb Weekend: #Cowboys LB Sean Lee may not return this week, meaning one of the defensive rookie of the year favorites Leighton Vander Esch won't see his snaps cut just yet (but should he ever?) pic.twitter.com/ZHf23xN5wM— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 2, 2018
Again, how exactly to juggle Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, and Jaylon Smith is the most wonderful type of “problem” to have, and it’s one that the Cowboys will obviously address when the time comes. For now the time doesn’t seem to be here as we’re still in wait and see mode with Lee.
Sean Lee can still bring a whole heck of a lot to an NFL defense. No one is denying his impact or worth. The General has only played in five games this season for the Cowboys, it will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.