After the Giants offense posted 35 points on the Cowboys in Week 14, including 15 in the final 3:20 of the fourth quarter, a change was made to the way Rob Ryan communicated the calls to his defense in two-minute drill situations.
Rather than give the call to middle linebacker Sean Lee via the radio in his helmet, Ryan began to signal out the calls to the line, the linebackers and the secondary from the sideline. In the rest of the game, however, Lee is still responsible to disseminating the calls.
For a defense that could use fewer complications rather than more, it doesn't help that Lee hasn't been able to practice this week due to an illness. Lee has been a part of morning walkthrough, but the team has sent him home for most of the last two days. In the meantime, the Cowboys are left to forge ahead without their best inside linebacker, the nerve center of the defense.
"Really what you try to do is just keep working on it," Jason Garrett said. "There are a lot of time that teams all throughout the league have to deal with players not being able to practice, and you have to keep going forward. Sean's a big part of our defense, we're hopeful he's going to be able to play in this game, and then in regards to his individual reps and our reps as a unit, you just hope he can catch up as the week goes on.
"He'll do a good job of that, preparing, and hopefully that communication won't be an issue for us."
One of the team's most devoted players in film study, Lee is surely getting work done from home, though he's missed out on meetings.
If he's well, he'll play, even with no practice during the week, so the first order of business for Lee is to get over the sickness, which has been a process this week.
"He had a fuller day yesterday," Garrett said. "Just came in for a checkup today."