IRVING, Texas – The easy thing for the Cowboys to do now that they know Sean Lee is done for the season is to pout.
Jason Garrett will make sure it does not happen -- or attempt to make sure it doesn’t happen -- but losing Lee is a huge blow for the Cowboys’ defense.
It doesn’t, however, have to be a fatal blow.
Last year, Houston lost Mario Williams to a torn pectoral muscle after just five games. Williams was a major part of the Texans’ defense, but Houston was able to overcome his loss, make the playoffs and even win a postseason game.
This year, the Texans are attempting to win without inside linebacker Brian Cushing, who suffered a season-ending knee injury after five games.
This is how the NFL goes. The New York Giants are trying to win with cornerback Terrell Thomas out for the season and safety Kenny Phillips battling a sprained knee. Washington lost Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season.
It won’t be easy for the Cowboys. It’s not easy for any team.
In 2005, Ray Lewis played in only six games because of a hamstring injury and Baltimore finished 6-10. In 2002, the Ravens went 7-9 when Lewis was limited to five games with a shoulder injury. In 2009, Pittsburgh had safety Troy Polamalu for only five games and finished 9-7 but missed the playoffs.
Lee is the Cowboys’ Lewis and Polamalu in many ways. He is their most productive defender. He fills the stat sheet like no other player.
The Cowboys, however, have to fight on and not throw a pity party. They need to steal a page from Houston.
Maybe they can ask Wade Phillips how to do it.