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sean lissemore | The DC Times

The DC Times

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Can the Cowboys effectively replace Jay Ratliff?

A few weeks ago, I published an article detailing why Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff is in for a steep decline this year. In that article, I posted this graph. . .

Ratliff turned 31 today. Happy Birthday Jay! Your present is that you’ll experience a precipitous drop in effectiveness this year.

So what do the ‘Boys have behind Ratliff? That’s what I examined today at Dallas Morning News.

Last season, Lissemore recorded a sack, hit, pressure, or tackle on 13.1 percent of his snaps, compared to 7.5 percent for Ratliff and 5.8 percent for Brent. Lissemore was really the Cowboys’ most efficient defensive player in 2011—yes, that includes you know who.

Read more on Lissemore and Brent here.

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Q&A With Dallas Cowboys Rookie DT/DE Sean Lissemore

I recently spoke with the Cowboys’ seventh-round pick Sean Lissmore out of William & Mary.  The transcript is below.  Topics included mini-camp, his high school days, and what it was like to get drafted by the Dallas Cowboys after growing up a New York Giants fan.

Jonathan:  Hey sean, how was mini-camp?
Sean:  Hey, it went well.  I definitely learned a lot in a short period of time.
Jonathan:  How was your conditioning?  Was it tougher than you anticipated?
Sean:  Nah, the conditioning wasn’t bad.  I had definitely prepared for that.  The toughest part was forgetting old techniques and habits and learning the new ones.
Jonathan:  I heard you beat the wide receivers in the sprints.
Sean:  Yeah, I wasn’t aware I was beating them until the end (laughs).  I have been training with all defensive backs in Virginia though so I guess that rubbed off on me.
Jonathan:  Yeah you certainly have speed.  Is it true you ran a 4.81 forty at your Pro Day?
Sean:  Yes, but I was actually hoping to get lower than that.  I can still move for a big guy.  I don’t really feel like I have the prototypical build for a 300-pounder.
Jonathan:  Did you ever play any wide receiver or tight end in high school?
Sean:  No, I didnt.  They stuck me on the offensive line because I was the biggest, strongest guy on the team and they needed me to block for our backs.  Defensively I was a linebacker though.  I also kicked off (laughs).  I used my toe, so my accuracy wasn’t ideal for field goals.  Sometimes they came off spinning like a punt.  It was always interesting to see where they went, but they went far for the most part.
Jonathan:  Did you get a chance to line up at DT and DE in mini-camp?  Where did they give you the bulk of your reps?
Sean:  I played all three positions, but most of my focus was on the right three-technique end.
Jonathan:  Do you have any experience in a 3-4 defense?
Sean:  Not the defense they run.  We played some dollar and dime at William & Mary in passing situations, but it was a different concept.
Jonathan:  Do you think the mental transition to the NFL is going to be as tough or tougher than the physical?
Sean:  I think it is a combination of both.  I think translating the mental to the physical while still playing at such a competitive level will be the toughest part.
Jonathan:  Were you surprised when Jerry called you?  What was going through your mind?  Did you have any pre-draft contact with Dallas?
Sean:  I was very surprised because I had little contact with Dallas and I was waiting for a call from one of the teams I had visited.  It was definitely a rush getting that call.
Jonathan:  Do you think the main reason you weren’t a first or second day pick was because of playing at a small school?
Sean:  That was probably a factor, and I also feel like I have a lot of development left as a technician.
Jonathan:  There is another player here by the name of Jay Ratliff who came in as an “undersized” technician.  Did you hear that Coach Phillips compared you to him?

Sean:  Yeah, I heard that.  I feel like we both came in as raw players with high motors.
Jonathan:  Do you feel like you are better suited to play inside like him as an “undersized” guy with incredible speed, or do you prefer defensive end?
Sean:  I feel like I can play either, but I am more accustomed to defensive tackle.  I have played that position for a few years now.
Jonathan:  Which team did you grow up rooting for in New Jersey?  My guess is a rival of the Cowboys.
Sean:  (Laughs).  Yeah, I was a Giants fan.  It was a little ironic getting drafted by Dallas.  I don’t think the coaches know I was a Giants fan (laughs).  I am definitely a Cowboys fan now though.
Jonathan:  What kind of emotions do you think you’ll have when you play the Giants this year?
Sean:  I will look at it as dream come true, regardless of what team I am on.  Just to be in the NFL and get a chance to play on that level is a blessing.  The colors I wear don’t really matter in the end.
Jonathan:  Have you had trouble getting your friends and family to convert to Cowboys fans?  I’m sure some of your friends who are die-hard Giants fans are kind of torn.
Sean:  Well, a lot of my friends are actually Cowboys fans.  They are all stoked, but the Giants fans said they will root for me individually, but not the Cowboys.
Jonathan:  Which Giants players did you admire growing up?
Sean:  I was a big Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson fan.  I even wore #56 all through junior football and high school.
Jonathan:  Have you officially chosen a number here?  Is your #78 going to stick?
Sean:  I am not really sure how that works.  I didnt choose #78 though.
Jonathan:  Would you prefer a number in the 70’s or 90’s?  Is your number important to you?
Sean:  The number isn’t a huge deal, but I wouldn’t mind a number in the 90’s.
Jonathan:  You should be fine regardless of the number.  Good luck this season Sean.
Sean:  My pleasure.  Good talking to you as well.  Take care.