Sean Lee leads the team in tackles, and while he’s satisfied with his play, he’s not happy.
“I feel like I’ve played well,” Lee said Friday. “I feel like I’m continuing to get better every game. I think there’s an interception or two that I’ve dropped that I’d like to have. But I feel like I’ve been able to play well and hopefully can continue to play at a higher level.”
Lee has 71 tackles, two tackles for loss and two defensed passes. He has 12 career interceptions, but none this year.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli recently had his players watch all 25 of Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks’ interceptions. Brooks played the same weakside linebacker spot that Lee does in the Tampa 2.
Marinelli said Lee reminds him of Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Brian Urlacher and Hardy Nickerson with both his preparation and his play.
“I think [his] intensity, purpose [stand out],“ Marinelli said. “Every down is important; every practice is important; every walkthrough is important. Every one of those things matters. The better the player, the better the focus. The guys who are really, really good, they’re on it. They don’t take anything for granted. Every play is meaningful.”
Lee has never played all 16 games in a season, and he missed 36 games his first six seasons. But he is off to a good start this year, staying injury-free.
He made his first Pro Bowl last season, missing only two games with concussions.
“He’s a really good player, and it’s great to see him in the lineup week in and week out and leading our defense,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He makes a ton of plays on the ball. He’s just a very, very productive football player. Hits on the ball is the statistic that you want your linebackers to be good at, and he makes a lot of hits on the ball.”
Lawrence eyes first sack
DeMarcus Lawrence hasn’t recorded a sack in his two games back after serving a four-game suspension to open the season. Heck, he hasn’t even recorded a tackle.
Lawrence has been credited with two quarterback pressures in two games.
“Each week, I think he’ll get better and better,” Marinelli said. “He’s had a good week of practice. It’s just, he’s got to work through the process.”
Lawrence has been slowed by injuries much of the season. He underwent back surgery after last season, and has recently been dealing with a shoulder injury.
Both injuries have forced the Cowboys to be cautious with the number of snaps he plays. Lawrence played 17 snaps against Cincinnati in Week 5, and 29 against Green Bay in Week 6.
But Lawrence is feeling better physically going into Sunday’s game against Philadelphia.
“It’s been feeling good, it’s been holding up for me,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence has been expected to make a big impact since rejoining the team. He led the Cowboys with eight sacks a season ago, and has been pegged as a guy who could lift the defense.
And Lawrence is hungry to get his first sack of the season, although knows it won’t be easy against Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters this weekend.
“Oh, man, I’ve been waiting a while,” Lawrence said. “It’s time to go get it. I’m going to be facing a good tackle in Peters, so I’ve got to go play and can’t let him have control of me.”
Quarterback Tony Romo did not practice Friday after throwing for three consecutive days. On Thursday, the Cowboys quarterback officially practiced for the first time since injuring his back Aug. 25.
He also threw Tuesday, the players’ day off, and Wednesday.
“He had a good day [Thursday],” Garrett said. “He did more. He threw the individual stuff. He also threw the scout team 7-on-7, so that was positive for him. He also did rehab away from the team with our strength and conditioning guys and our trainers. So he’ll continue to work on that to get his conditioning right. Again, I thought it was a good step.”
The Cowboys ruled out Romo for Sunday. It seems logical that Romo would do more next week, but Garrett said the Cowboys would take it “day by day” depending on how Romo feels each day.
“We’ll see how he feels and see what he’s able to do,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys have not set a date for Romo’s return to game action. Romo injured his back in a preseason game against the Seahawks. The diagnosis for his return from the compression fracture was six to 10 weeks, and he hits the nine-week mark Thursday.
Defensive end Ryan Davis (hamstring) is the only other player ruled out for Sunday. Cornerback Morris Claiborne (concussion), receiver Dez Bryant (knee), running back Lance Dunbar (knee), tackle Chaz Green (foot), defensive end David Irving (ankle), defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back/shoulder), cornerback Orlando Scandrick (hamstring), tackle Tyron Smith (back), linebacker Kyle Wilber (neck) and tight end Jason Witten (chest) are listed as questionable. Most, though, are expected to play, including Witten, Claiborne, Bryant, Smith and Scandrick.