“He's very passionate about the game,” Garrett said. “He's fun to be around the couple of days we've been around him. I'm excited to see him practice and see how well he can pick things up and get himself acclimated to what we're doing.”
So many Green Bay defenders went down in 2010, Poppinga isn't sure he remembers how many — “six, seven?” he says — although it's worth noting that none of the injured was Clay Matthews.
Lee was that kind of player for the Cowboys.
“Basically, you've got to have guys when they do come in that are the next guy up, they've got to commit to learning the defense,” Poppinga said. “And they've got to be able to integrate themselves with the team and become part of the team. That's what most important. That's what separates championship teams from average teams is team chemistry and guys wanting to go out and play for each other.”
Sims, a seventh-year player drafted ninth overall by Detroit in 2006, actually started against Atlanta 11 days after signing with the Cowboys while Connor was out with a neck injury. Now he and Connor will start side by side, and their significance isn't diminished by the unusual move of outside linebacker Anthony Spencer calling the defensive plays rather than someone in the middle.
“Let's be abundantly clear about that,” Garrett said. “There's a lot of responsibility those inside guys have.”
Sims played the Sunday after he signed with Dallas, getting two tackles for a defense that held Eli Manning to 190 yards passing in a 29-24 loss to the New York Giants. He has 20 tackles in five games
“As ready as I was going to be,” Sims said of his quick Dallas debut. “When I got here, coaches asked me was I ready to play, and of course I'm going to say yes.”
If they ask Poppinga the same question, they'll get the same answer.
“I'm ready and willing to do whatever they so ask of me,” he said. “So I don't know what that means.”
It means the Cowboys are scrambling to stay in the playoff chase.