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Sub packages take hit without Sean Lee

IRVING, Texas – There is a major trickle-down effect for the Cowboys with the loss of linebacker Sean Lee.

Of course, they will miss his playmaking and his leadership. It will also force the Cowboys to alter their sub package defense.

Because of the athleticism of Lee and Bruce Carter, the Cowboys were able to play more nickel defense than most teams instead of bringing in a sixth defensive back. Carter’s athleticism will keep him on the field for three downs, but Dan Connor, who will replace Lee in the base defense, struggled in coverage in the preseason and training camp.

With pass-friendly teams like the New York Giants, Atlanta and Philadelphia coming up in the next three weeks, the Cowboys’ sub package will be tested. The Cowboys can use Connor or move safeties Danny McCray or Charlie Peprah into a hybrid role when teams use three and four-wide receiver sets.

“That will be a week-to-week decision that we’ll make based on what the opposing offenses want to do,” coach Jason Garrett said. “But we do have some versatility there.”