The off-season for the NFL is where all 32 teams try to improve the talent level of their roster from top to bottom.
This off-season the Dallas Cowboys focused mainly on the defensive side of the ball in hopes of bettering the talent level of a defense that many believed over achieved in the
During free agency the Cowboys signed linebackers Jasper Brinkley, Keith Rivers, Andrew Gachkar, and re-signed Rolando McClain. They also decided to sign the best pass rushing free agent on the market in Greg Hardy, even knowing that he would be facing disciplinary actions from the league because of his involvement in a domestic violence law suit.
Maintaining their focus on the defensive side of the ball the Cowboys came away from the 2015 NFL draft with four of their eight draft picks coming on defense. They added cornerback Byron Jones, defensive end Randy Gregory, defensive end Ryan Russell, and two linebackers Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha.
With so many new defensive players joining the franchise organized team activities, training camp, and preseason will determine exactly what type of role these players will have on the defense in the 2015 season.
One position in particular that the Cowboys organization and coaches will be keeping a close eye on is the linebacker position.
The Cowboys currently have 12 linebackers on the roster with the recent addition of Texas A&M rookie Donnie Baggs, who was signed after being brought into the mix at the rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.
The numbers of linebackers currently on the Cowboys roster is mostly due to the fact of the injuries that have occurred at the position of the last few years.
In the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme there are only three starting spots available. Rolando McClain is probably pencilled in as a starter at the Mike linebacker spot with Sean Lee returning from injury and playing next to him as the weak side linebacker.
That leaves 10 linebackers competing for the strong side linebacker spot or hoping to make the team as either a backup or playing special teams.
The return of Sean Lee could possibly be the spark that the defense drastically needed at times last season and the key to the resurrection of the defense in 2015.
When healthy, Lee is one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL, but being unable to stay on the field for an entire season has kept him from reaching its full potential in his six years with the Cowboys.
The weak side linebacker spot in the Cowboys 4-3 scheme is one of the more important positions which fits Sean Lee’s skill set perfectly.
One of his best traits is being able to quickly read and react to the defensive play and quickly get to the ball. Being able to quickly diagnose the offensive plays out in the weak side linebacker position should help boost the performance level of the entire defense.
The weak side linebacker plays behind the three technique defensive tackle which will hopefully cut down the wear and tear of having to take on offensive lineman play after play and keep Sean Lee healthy for the entire season.
The weak side linebacker position also is a playmaking position in the Cowboys 4-3 scheme. This is where Sean Lee could possibly excel. In his injury plagued career he has still managed to amass 11 interceptions and managed to return two of those interceptions for touchdowns.
With Rolando McClain back as the Mike linebacker and Sean Lee playing next to him as the weak side linebacker the Cowboys defense has perhaps the best physically gifted linebacker duos in the NFL.
The battle for the starting spot of the strong side linebacker position could possibly be the best position battle to watch in training camp and throughout the preseason games.
All of the new defensive players added through free agency and the draft should help improve the overall defensive performance in the upcoming 2015 season.
It takes more than player to play the game, but with the return of Sean Lee the Cowboys organization has to be excited with what the defense might be capable of.
Look out for the Cowboys defense in 2015 they could help the Cowboys go far into the playoffs and even reach the Super Bowl.
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