Sean Lee praises Rod Marinelli

Jamaal Charles (25) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee (50) during the first half. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Rod Marinelli, Sean Lee

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  • Jimmy DeMarco

    I’m confused Joe. I thought Dallas wasn’t switching back to a 3-4. Are you just saying that in case it ever happens or are they switching back?

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Yeah, I was just saying that even if the Cowboys decide that they want to switch back after all, then Lee would still be just as good; he’s scheme versatile.

      Sorry for creating some confusion there, Jimmy. Thanks for asking for some clarification.

      • Jimmy DeMarco

        It’s okay, thanks for the clarification.
        I actually got excited there for a minute, I wish they would switch back to the 3-4.

        • JoeDaBeast

          I don’t think they have the beef up front to play the 3-4, especially to keep the MLBs clean.

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            Right now, no they don’t. Cause I’m not sold on Hayden and Bass as big time tackles. And I keep hearing that Crawford is going to make the move inside at tackle, which I think is a good move. He’s not much of a speed pass rusher on the edge. But how his athleticism translates to tackle will be interesting. But if Hatcher came back, which is unlikely, and they were able to draft a Hageman, Jernigan, Tuitt or Daquan Jones, it’s possible. And if they could add Melton, that would make it possible.
            But I think they’ll stay will the 4-3 & Marinelli will just change his secondary schemes to have more press coverage. Hopefully he does that lol.

          • JoeDaBeast

            I agree on the press coverage. Carr and Claiborne are more conducive for that style of play, and Scandrick has made many forget about Mike Jenkins and made the letting go of Newman more acceptable.

          • Jimmy DeMarco

            It did. People were skeptical at first of that move. But Scandrick played pretty good actually.