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Sean Lee: Dallas Cowboys' D woes were players' fault


When the Dallas Cowboys promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator -- while still keeping Monte Kiffin in the building -- it signaled that the team would continue to use a 4-3 base defense.

Linebacker Sean Lee, who dealt with multiple injuries last season, said another season in the same scheme (after it shifted from a 3-4 last year) will aid the Cowboys' defense.

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"I think it'll be a similar base," Lee said, per "Both coaches (Marinelli and Kiffin) are fantastic coaches. I think the issue is the players finding a way to play better within the scheme, being more consistent, being perfect with our technique and playing with consistency. Those are things we didn't do at all last year."

Lee will work under his fifth defensive coordinator in five seasons (Wade Phillips/Paul Pasqualoni in 2010, Rob Ryan in 2011-'12, Kiffin in 2013). Arguably the team's most valuable defender, Lee believes last year's struggles were on the players, not the coaching staff.

"I think that the 4-3, 3-4, there are a lot of similarities really," Lee said. "Obviously we didn't make the transition well, but that was on us working more, becoming better, learning quicker and executing it better. I think that's on the players."

Of course, not having Lee healthy for large chunks of the season didn't help.

The 27-year-old, who has dealt with toe, hamstring and neck injuries the past two seasons, said he's had some "bad luck."

"I need to find a way to stay healthy, whether it's finding a way to be stronger and not having the hamstring deal or it's hopefully having a little bit better luck," Lee told "I need a combination of both going forward."

Lee has yet to be fully cleared to practice after suffering a torn ligament in his neck. However, he's optimistic he'll be ready by the time the Cowboys open their offseason training program April 21.

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