FRISCO, Texas – The bye week meant valuable midseason rest for veterans like Sean Lee, but the Cowboys' 32-year-old defensive captain felt "great" physically after his return to the lineup Oct. 21 against Washington.
Last Thursday, after the Cowboys wrapped up their final practice of the bye week, Lee said he had "no issues" with the left hamstring that sidelined him for three games.
"I'm past the treatment phase, which is nice," Lee said last Thursday. "I'm practicing normally, which is also nice. I'm trying to build some momentum and some continuity week to week. I need to be out there practicing and playing, so hopefully I can do that down the stretch here and for the rest of the year."
The players don't return to practice until Wednesday leading up to their Nov. 5 'Monday Night Football' home game against the Titans. By NFL rule, players must be off a minimum of four straight days during the bye week.
Lee played 38 snaps against Washington in his first game back from injury and had six tackles. The Cowboys will rotate Lee, Jaylon Smith, rookie Leighton Vander Esch and Damien Wilson in an effort to keep all linebackers fresh.
Through seven games, the Cowboys (3-4) rank third in total defense and have yielded the second-fewest points per game (17.6). The team traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper to boost the offense, and in turn, help the defense stay off the field for longer stretches.
Adding a "dominant" talent like Cooper can only help both sides of the ball, Lee said. But the defense is always looking at what they can do to help the offense. For example, they're tied with three teams for the second-fewest takeaways in the league (6).
"We've done some things well," Lee said, "but if we can take that next step and make more plays, have more turnovers, that becomes more of the focus than overall moves like that."