OXNARD, Calif. –
Lee enters the season lighter than he did last year, listed at 234 pounds currently, though he says it’s more around the mid-to-upper 230s. Last year he stayed in the low 240s.
“In the past, it was more of me trying to put weight on and keep weight on, whereas now, it’s probably more of my natural weight where I feel comfortable,” Lee said. “Whatever weight you feel comfortable at where you feel like you’re running well, that’s what I want to be at. That’s what I feel comfortable at right now.”
The lost weight should help Lee feel quick on his feet in coverage. He’ll need to feel comfortable moving around and covering a lot of ground as the lone Mike linebacker in the 4-3 defense.
“I’m a big believer in being able to move in space, however light you need to be to move the way you want, that’s where you need to get to,” Lee said. “As long as I’m strong and I’m healthy and I’m running well and I feel like I can take on linemen and take on fullbacks, then whatever weight I’m at, I’m not too worried.”
Lee also talked about the weight change, his injury, his new defensive coordinator and head coach Jason Garrett’s more all-encompassing role.
How important is it to you as a leader making sure you can stay on the field for 16 games?
Lee: “You want to be a great football player, you need to be on the field. If you want to help your team win, you need to be on the field. That’s something I wasn’t last year. Going forward, I’m going to do everything I can to off the field try to stay healthy. When it comes to pre-hab, rehab, making sure I’m fresh, diet. But at some point, you’ve got to go out and play, and if you get injured, you get injured.
What’s it like playing for Monte Kiffin this season?
Lee: “He has an unbelievable amount of knowledge, and we soak it up. To have a guy who’s been around who’s won like him is unbelievable. Right now we’re learning from him, we need to get better and he’s getting us better.”
Is it strange at all to see Jason Garrett moving around to every position group more often now that he’s delegated the play-calling role?
Lee: “I have always felt that he found a way to see everything. He doesn’t miss much, he never has in the past and he won’t in the future. He’s a guy who’s on top of every detail and knows what’s going on. That’s what makes him a great coach and that’s why we all respond to him.”
How much did the injury set you back?
Lee: “I’ve had a track record of being able to come back from any injury, and not only come back, but come back better from injuries, so that’s what I’m planning on doing right now.”