Dallas Cowboys star inside linebacker Sean Lee still hasn’t been medically cleared from the sprained ligament in his neck that caused him to miss the final stretch of the Cowboys attempt to win the NFC East and make the playoffs, but his condition continues to improve and he’s still fully expected to participate in all offseason activities. He recently took the time to speak about newly promoted defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who has plenty of experience and respect in this league. Marinelli did a great job last year as the Cowboys defensive line coach, and he clearly deserves the increased role, especially since it comes at the expense (benefit, really) of Monte Kiffin no longer running the defense.
Lee said of Marinelli, via ESPN Dallas’s Todd Archer, “Unbelievable motivator, great person, great coach. I’m excited to play for him as our coordinator. He’s going to be great. I’m excited Coach Kiffin is going to be involved too. I have a great relationship with Coach [Matt] Eberflus, who has made me a better player. Having all those guys will be great.”
Always the leader, Lee also had kind words for Kiffin, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Marinelli’s new defense affects their best player. When he was healthy last season, Lee blossomed into one of the league’s best linebackers by significantly improving his coverage ability, which was a weakness early in his career. The Penn State product has always been very good, but he is now a fully legitimate All-Pro linebacker and continues to be the “quarterback” of the defense. In 11 games last season, Lee had 99 tackles and four interceptions and would have averaged over ten tackles per game had he not suffered injuries during two separate contests.
Any swap between being a 4-3 MLB and 3-4 ILB definitely doesn’t change Lee’s effectiveness, so a switch back to the 3-4 under Marinelli shouldn’t really help or hurt him.