The Dallas Cowboys have two former Penn State linebackers on the roster and they’re pretty fond of each other. Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee was drafted out of Penn State in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft and has since become the best player on the team. Dan Connor signed with Dallas the off-season after spending four years with the Carolina Panthers. While Lee is the NFL star, the former Nittany Lion says he modeled himself after Connor while at Penn State.
“He was a guy that I modeled myself after in college and a guy that I really looked up to,” Lee said. “He’s a guy that’s an extremely hard worker. He’s a guy that leads by example every day. He had a great career at Penn State. He’s a really good linebacker and a complete player. I’m excited to play with him again.”
The Cowboys needed another solid inside linebacker after veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James became free agents this off-season and got just that in Connor. Naturally, Connor and Lee have chemistry they developed while in college and that should translate to quality linebacker play in Dallas.
Rob Ryan’s defense was pretty good at stopping the run last year, allowing only 99.1 yards per game to opposing offenses, good for 7th-best in the NFL. However, the Cowboys’ linebackers struggled in pass coverage and that led to aerial attacks on Dallas’ defense. If Lee, Connor and second-year pro Bruce Carter can perform at the level expected of them, the Cowboys’ defense will be a force in 2012.