IRVING, Texas – Increasing his practice participation throughout the week, linebacker Sean Lee expects to play Sunday against the Patriots.
"I feel great," he said. "I went through all the (concussion) protocol this week, haven't had any symptoms, went to the doctor yesterday and he cleared me to play."
Lee sustained a concussion in the first quarter against the Saints and didn't return as the Cowboys lost their second consecutive game. The defense certainly could have used his help in attempting to slow Drew Brees, who threw for 359 yards and the winning 80-yard touchdown pass in overtime.
Lee is listed as "probable" against New England after practicing fully on Friday.
"He's our leader," linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. "Everyone tunes in to listen to him and he does a great job of communicating."
This week Lee and the defense draw another Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback.
At 38 years old, this would seem likely to be Brady's first and only trip to AT&T Stadium. Heck, the way he's playing, maybe he'll still be taking snaps in 2023 at age 46.
The Cowboys have faced Brady three times, and the Patriots won all three in different ways. New England pitched a 12-0 shutout in 2003, and in 2011 Brady directed a late touchdown drive to outduel Tony Romo, 20-16. The second game – a 48-27 final score that resembled a tennis match – was vintage Brady in the middle of a record-breaking offensive season.
Through three games, New England is on pace to set a new record for regular-season points scored (634).
"He's got all the accolades," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "But the best one he's got is he's a winner. Smart, he runs the system, and different parts come in year by year, and there's something to his leadership and getting those guys all on the same page."
Returning contributors Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain will help. But Lee said the entire unit must have solid communication against Brady, who's surgeon-like in attacking defenses.
"The margin for error against a guy that talented, that good, is small," Lee said. "We're going to have to execute really well. We're going to have to pressure him and try to play our best."