Bad news for Dallas: starting middle linebacker Sean Lee is unlikely to play in the Cowboys’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles this week. NFL insider Ian Rapoport is suggesting Lee could be out beyond this week after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 10.
When healthy, Lee is obviously a very good player. The problem is he’s often battled injuries throughout his career.
The impact of Lee’s absence was on display in the Cowboys’ 27-7 loss to the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta started having more offensive success when he had to leave the game.
Here’s some more context on Lee’s importance via ESPN.
The Cowboys have allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of 85.6 with Lee on the field, which has risen all the way to 107.8 with Lee sidelined.
Even worse, opposing offenses have averaged 3.5 yards per carry with Lee at linebacker and more than 5.5 yards per attempt with Lee on the bench.
Losing Lee hurts a Cowboys defense that already ranks 23rd in DVOA and 17th in yards per play. Dallas also ranks 24th in opponent yards per rushing attempt, so that suggests the Eagles should be able to have success on the ground this week. Jay Ajayi could be line for a big game.
In other Cowboys injury news, it’s unclear if Tyron Smith (back/groin) will be able to play. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is out for this week’s game, so Dallas will have to rely on Mike Nugent once again. Nugent missed a 38-yard attempt against the Falcons.
The Eagles’ 53-man roster, meanwhile, is looking pretty healthy coming off their bye. Starting corner Ronald Darby and leading receiver Zach Ertz are on pace to return on Sunday Night Football.