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Rush attack preps for Cowboys' Connor

Posted Oct 24, 2012

The Giants offense will face the Cowboys without their leading tackler on Sunday

Of all the collisions in football, the fullback-on-linebacker run-in ranks near the top in frequency.

The two sides get to know each well during the course of the game, and none more so than the interior ones with the Henry Hynoski’s of the game.

But when the Giants fullback lines up on Sunday in Dallas, he won’t be seeing his acquaintance Sean Lee. The Cowboys linebacker was officially placed on injured reserve Wednesday due to a toe injury that requires surgery. Lee racked up 12 tackles (10 solo) against the Giants in their season opener and forced David Wilson’s fumble early in the NFC East matchup.

“He’s really the captain of their defense, you can see that,” Hynoski said. “He has that persona about him. He’s their leader. It’s definitely a big loss for them, but they have a lot of guys to make up for it. They have extremely talented guys between [linebackers DeMarcus] Ware, [Anthony] Spencer, [Bruce] Carter and I guess Dan Connor is going to be filling in for [Lee].  They’re all talented guys that can make plays also.”

Before the injury, Lee was the Cowboys’ leading tackler with 58 in six games (Dallas had its bye in Week 5) in addition to one interception.  

Connor will likely assume the starting duties now. He fits the mold that Lee left behind as both were Pennsylvania natives that went on to play linebacker at Penn State.  Connor signed with Dallas this offseason after spending his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, the team which drafted him in 2008. Meanwhile, Lee was in the middle of his third year with the Cowboys, who drafted him in 2010.

“Connor is a good player,” Tom Coughlin said. “He’s played in this league; he’s played in their scheme.  When they go to a three-linebacker scheme, he plays.  He’s physical, he’s a veteran, he’s good instinctively.  Obviously, Sean Lee is their leading tackler, so there will be a factor there.  Connor is a good player.”

Connor has played in all six of the Cowboys’ games this season, recording 11 tackles and a pass block.

“I got to block him a few times,” Hynoski said. “He’s just another tough, hardnosed guy. Actually, he’s similar to Lee in a lot of ways as far mentality and the work ethic and that type of thing is concerned. He’s a good player also. He’s a tough player.”

A Pennsylvania native himself, Hynoski knows the two well.

“I heard about them in high school and everything just because we’re all from Pennsylvania,” said Hynoski, who never played against Penn State while he was at Pitt. “I remember watching those guys in the state championship…I remember seeing Connor in the state championship and then Lee was in the state championship when I was there the one year. When I was training for the combine, Sean Lee trained at the same facility I did. So I got to know him pretty well.”

He added: “You hate to see great players go down with injuries even if they’re on the opposing team. It’s something you don’t like to see…We’re all in the same business.”


Game Rewind: New York Giants