2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys' league-worst defense scrambling at LB

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-19 02:08

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Bruce Carter was benched for a game over spotty play early in the season. Now it's hard to tell what the Dallas Cowboys would do without him at linebacker.

Carter's return to practice Wednesday after missing the loss to Green Bay with a hamstring injury was good news for the NFL's worst defense.

Sean Lee is probably out Sunday against Washington with a neck sprain. Justin Durant's season is over because of a hamstring injury.

Ernie Sims isn't practicing because of a hip and groin problem.

Among the replacements, Kyle Wilber is the only one who has started a game. And he began the season as a defensive end.

''We don't know who is going to be available to us this week, so we'll play that out first and foremost,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''The big thing we try to do is make sure we have all of the contingency plans in place.''

DeVonte Holloman, a rookie sixth-round pick, played the most snaps among linebackers against the Packers in his first game in two months. He had been sidelined by a neck injury.

The top four linebackers - Lee, Carter, Durant and Sims - were all out in the second half, when Green Bay scored touchdowns on five straight possessions to rally for a 37-36 win after trailing 26-3 at halftime.

The Cowboys have already surpassed last season's franchise record for yards allowed with two games remaining. But they can still end a three-year playoff drought by winning their last two.

Dallas couldn't do it last season with a decimated crew of linebackers - unable to stop Drew Brees' passing and Albert Morris' running in the final two losses.

''You can't be discouraged,'' cornerback Brandon Carr said. ''You can't lose confidence. You can't even worry about what happened yesterday. It's all about today.''

Carter will call the defensive signals if Lee doesn't play. He's actually been more effective when he's had to take over Lee's leadership role, and now he's surrounded by four players with combined totals of 47 games and five starts.

''I just want to go in there and get everybody lined up,'' Carter said. ''I think once we can get everybody lined up and get into position where we need to be, I think things will kind of fall into place and it'll flow a lot better.''

One of the replacements is Orie Lemon, who has been on and off the Dallas roster since signing as an undrafted free agent two years ago. He was cut by the Cowboys on Saturday and re-signed Tuesday.

''We don't know who's going to be there or not be there, but it's a concern,'' defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. ''We ain't going to pout around. We'll be ready to play.''

NOTES: Besides Lee and Sims, the Cowboys were missing starting DEs DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie in practice. Both are dealing with back issues. ... CB Morris Claiborne said he will miss his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury. His return was slowed because he was away from the team after the death of his father and the birth of his child. ... The Cowboys signed kick-return specialist Micheal Spurlock with Dwayne Harris (hamstring) expected to miss the Washington game and Terrance Williams also slowed by a hamstring issue. ... Dallas signed DT Frank Kearse off Tennessee's practice squad and added LB Jonathan Stewart to its practice squad.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group