2012 was supposed to be a breakout season for Dallas Cowboys defensive end-turned-defensive tackle Sean Lissemore.
I say that because according to Pro Football Focus, Lissemore earned a +13.8 grade in 2011. That grade was good enough to rank him third overall on the Cowboys’ defense and earned him the highest individual grade against the run. Unfortunately, Lissemore’s breakout season never materialized because he, along with what seemed to be the entire Cowboys’ defense, was plagued by injuries in 2012.
That, however, didn’t keep the Cowboys from locking Lissemore up through 2016 with a three extension that guaranteed him $3.1 million and included a $2 million signing bonus. I truly believe the Cowboys wanted to get this deal done to avoid another Stephen Bowen-like situation once Lissemore rookie contract expired in 2013.
Fast-forward to 2013 and you’ll notice that things have changed in Dallas, particularly the defensive scheme. In 2013, the Cowboys will be deploying the Tampa Cover 2 defense under the guidance of longtime defensive guru Monte Kiffin, who was brought in after the Cowboys fired Rob Ryan.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Lissemore’s healthy and according to Bryan Broaddus, he looks like the player he was in 2011.
“The quickness and the power appeared to be back on several reps like it was two seasons ago when he played inside as a nickel rusher,” Broadus said on DallasCowboys.com. “This scheme, which is allowing him to play as a one is a much better fit than when he had to play as a nose.”
It seems that the change from the 3-4 to the 4-3 front is going to pay off for the Cowboys and that contrary to popular belief; the Cowboys have the personnel to make the transition a successful one.