While all of the headlines are of Tony Romo missing the Dallas Cowboys NFC East Championship Game, quiet as it has been, the absence of Sean Lee may be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.
Romo is without a doubt an integral part of the Cowboys’ offense, but with the surging DeMarco Murray and a serviceable backup in Kyle Orton, offensively, the Cowboys will still have plenty of weapons at their disposal. Romo’s playmaking ability, improvisation and toughness will be missed with him gone, but without defensive leader Lee, the Cowboys are in a world of trouble. The injury he sustained has continued to linger and has not improved since the game against the Chicago Bears.
With a defense that has struggled the entire year, the loss of Lee is a huge problem. Pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware has not been the same since returning from injury. Besides Ware, Lee is one of the Cowboys’ best defenders, and with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly‘s complicated and fast-paced offense, the Cowboys are going to be in trouble if they get behind early. Kelly’s uptempo offense makes it hard for a defenses to get substitutes in and out of the game.
The absence of linebacker Sean Lee puts a strain on the entire Cowboys’ defense. The Cowboys have struggled on the back end all year long and the loss of Lee just puts them at an even larger disadvantage. Romo may get all of the blame when the Cowboys struggle, but if the Cowboys lose Sunday, the loss of Lee will be the be the ultimate reason they fail to meet the playoffs. The Cowboys will need someone else to step up and make some big plays for them on Sunday because with Ware still struggling, Lee gone and the secondary still a huge liability, the Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaker.