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Eatman: Looks Like Team Missed Coleman More Than Expected

Losing the 11th-best tackler on any defense doesn't seem like a big blow.

As it turned out, it was a pretty significant loss for the Cowboys when veteran defensive end Kenyon Coleman was ruled out for the season last week.

Coleman's torn triceps injury forced him to injured reserve and with veteran Marcus Spears, rookie Tyrone Crawford and even the addition of rookie Ben Bass, it seemed the Cowboys would be able to compensate for the loss.

Early on in the first half Sunday, the Browns were getting chunks of yards on the ground, thanks to rookie Trent Richardson, who is going to be phenomenal player in this league, especially if he keeps getting help around him.

But the Cowboys missed Coleman's size and presence. Spears calls Coleman the strongest player he's ever been around and that is definitely needed as a 3-4 end when you're getting constant double teams from tackles and guards.

It's not like Spears played awful by any means. He had three tackles and was active in limited passing downs. Crawford also had two stops and Bass assisted on a tackle.

But it's not just about tackles, it's about freeing up the linebackers to make plays. We talk about things that don't show up in the stat sheets and when Coleman forces a double-team, it allows the Sean Lee/Bruce Carter types to go make plays.

Lee is a regular double-digit tackler before his injury and Carter had at least 10 tackles in the last two weeks before Sunday. He had just five on Sunday against the Browns.

But like Lee and Barry Church, Coleman is out for the season and the Cowboys can't spend too much time worrying about that part, and focus on getting it fixed.

Getting Sean Lissemore back from a high-ankle sprain soon should help. Lissemore's chances of playing Thursday seem unlikely but a Dec. 2 target return is more possible.

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