3 of the NFC East teams have lost one of their 5 most important players for the season

• Sean Lee is done for the season, per Ed Werder and Todd Archer of ESPN, and the Cowboys are expected to sign Ernie Sims to replace him.  This is the kind of injury that puts holes in football fans’ walls.  In my opinion, Lee is the second best player on the team, behind just DeMarcus Ware.  He’s the 4th most irreplaceable, in my opinion, behind Ware, Tony Romo, and Tyron Smith, based on positional importance/depth.  Lee was the kind of player that I expected to eventually land on the Pro Bowl roster (likely this year), then remain there for the duration of his career.  He plays the run, he plays the pass, he’s intelligent, and he’s a competitor.  He’s pretty much everything you want as the leader of your defense.

Rafael Vela of Cowboys Nation talked to a medical adviser about the injury itself, and Lee’s chances of returning to full strength once it heals.  Good stuff there.  Absolutely worth a look.

The only knock on Lee has been his durability.  This is now the fifth straight season in which Lee will have missed time.  Here are the previous four years:

Penn State:

  • Torn ACL in 2008.  Missed the entire season.
  • Sprained knee in 2009.  Missed three games.


  • Strained hamstring in 2010.  Missed two games.
  • Dislocated wrist in 2011.  Missed one game.

The new starters will likely be Bruce Carter and Dan Connor.  Carter has been encouraging so far this season.  It will be interesting to see if his play is hurt by this development.  As noted above, the Cowboys also signed Ernie Sims.  Sims became somewhat of a punchline in Philadelphia, after he received over-the-top praise from then defensive coordinator Sean McDermott:

“Ernie’s been a welcome addition,” he raved. “He loves to play the game first of all. He’s our type of guy, intangibly, and you … see it out there. He can fly. The speed factor — there’s a shark in the water out there right now, and that’s Ernie Sims.”

Ask any diehard Eagles fan who the “shark in the water” is and they’ll know.  I was asked about my opinion of Ernie Sims on Twitter.  In case any Cowboys fans are interested in my opinion on him, I thought I summed him up rather nicely in 9 words.


• Earlier in the week, the Redskins lost Fred Davis for the season with a torn Achilles. Prior to this season, the NFL record for receiving yards in a single single for a TE was 1290, by Kellen Winslow Sr.  Both Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski broke that record in 2011, and are clearly the two best TE receiving threats in the NFL:

Player Rec Yards TD
Rob Gronkowski 90 1327 17
Jimmy Graham 99 1310 11

But after that, Davis is right in that mix among the best receiving TE’s.  Before he got suspended, he was on pace to top 1000 yards.  Here were his 2011 numbers, and how they projected over a 16 game season:

Player Rec Yards TD
Fred Davis 59 796 3
Fred Davis projected over 16 games 79 1061 4

Along with Graham and Gronkowski, if Davis had just laid off the weed and kept up his pace over the first 12 games, he would have been just one of three TE’s to top 1000 yards.  That’s especially impressive considering the Skins’ QB situation.  Here were the other top TE’s in the game in 2011, noting that the majority of these guys played with some pretty good QB’s:

Player Rec Yards TD
Jason Witten 79 942 5
Aaron Hernandez 79 910 7
Tony Gonzalez 80 875 7
Dustin Keller 65 815 5
Brent Celek 62 811 5
Vernon Davis 67 792 6
Antonio Gates 64 778 7
Brandon Pettigrew 83 777 5
Jermichael Finley 55 767 8
Kellen Winslow 75 763 2

In my opinion, Davis was very clearly the Skins’ best player on offense last season.  This season he was improving as a run blocker, and while his stats aren’t particularly eye-opening, he was still on pace to break 800 yards (not including the quarter or so he played against the Giants before getting hurt).  That’s major blow to the Redskins’ offense, even with improved skill position players.

Plus… Brian Orakpo, who isn’t too shabby either.

• And finally, the Eagles lost Jason Peters, although the sting of that was back in March, with a re-sting in May.  I wrote about how the Eagles have missed Peters at length over at my new gig with the Allentown Morning Call.

Watch your backs, Giants.


  1. Trueblue63 says:

    Sort of funny thinking that the Giants need to somehow catch up/ have been lucky in injuries. It seems like our inactive list is pretty impressive week to week.

  2. borkowskowitz says:

    Ernie sims; stick with the smaller boat.

  3. peter says:

    terrell thomas ring a bell?

    1. Nice player, but come on.

      1. peter says:

        i guess so. since they lost him for the 2nd straight year so hes kind of irrelevant and the giants protecting himself he wouldnt make it back with draft picks

        but absolutely a HUGE loss in 2011, but thats not important obviously

  4. Mick says:

    You don’t consider Nicks one of the Giants best five players? Really?

    1. Is he out for the season?

  5. NYG_slater says:

    eww, thats rough on losing Sean Lee……from the article it sounds like Toe injuries can be potentially tougher to come back from compared to the dreaded ACL tear. Sounds like the Cowboys made the right call shutting him down so he can recover properly.

  6. Fiftyfourd says:

    Shouldn’t Jason Kelce be on here also?

    1. Fiftyfourd says:

      Or is this based off of your “Top 5 players bEast teams can’t afford to lose” article?

      1. I don’t think Kelce was a”Top 5 losses” kind of guy. His loss hurts, unquestionably, but there are much bigger ones on the team, in my opinion.

  7. BBI says:

    Reports were that Jason Peters could possibly come back this season, and that he was going to practice soon.

    Also, the Giants have had their fair share of bad injury luck too! We’ve paid our debts!

    1. He’s doing some light workouts, but his return remains a looooong shot.

    2. mjoedgaard says:

      So what you are saying is that the Eagles should win the SB this year?

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