IRVING, Texas -- If you have been following along with our series of the positional break down of this squad, you I have read several times where I made a mention of scheme fits for players and how they should benefit from them in the coming season.
On defense, I really like the fits for Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff and Bruce Carter but the one player that might benefit from it the most is, Sean Lee and what his required traits wise for a Mike linebacker to be successful.
It's not that Lee couldn't handle playing inside in the 3-4 because his lateral quickness along with his understanding of what his fit was in the defense but how he is able to read blocks in front of him, then react. There were times during the early part of the 2012 season while playing next to Bruce Carter where Carter actually looked slow reacting but he really wasn't, it was Lee was just that quick.
During my career in this league, there are very few inside linebackers that play with the ability that Sean Lee has. The quickness and instincts are rare. Where Lee is also rare, is his ability to finish the play. There is a real violence to his game. When you study him on tape, he plays like a blur working through traffic getting to the ball. Lee has that ability to stop ball carriers in their tracks because he plays with explosive strength and snap.
In this scheme, Lee will benefit from the two defensive tackles in front of him for block protection but where you will also notice him more is in pass coverage. This is an underrated feature of his game. We talk about the instincts he shows when it comes to playing the run and locating the ball but he is also able to use those same instincts in pass coverage.
Lee has an outstanding awareness of positioning in his drops to be disruptive in throwing lanes. He has a sense of how to play routes in zone but when he has to carry a man up the field, he knows how to keep himself in position to play the ball. It's rare that you see him out of position when he is put in those situations.
There will be plenty of times this season where you see him with an extremely deep drop into the middle of the field playing between the two safeties in the middle of the field. His movement skills will allow him to not only get into position to defend but also be a force when receivers try and work that area. [embedded_ad]
Sean Lee has yet to make a Pro Bowl in his short career with the Cowboys, even though I believed that he was well on his way before he was injured in Carolina. This scheme is too good of a fit, plus he is healthy, not to make a ton of plays.
He is just a natural. The front office will look to extend him soon and rightfully so because of his ability and what he means to this team with his leadership. Players and fans around the National Football League have an idea of who Sean Lee is, but come February he will take his place among the best of the best and then everyone will know.
This should be the first of many trips for the talented linebacker.