Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeVonte Holloman (57) in action against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Players Prepare to Battle for Cowboys Linebacker Position


As if they aren’t already, the world will definitely be watching and talking about the Dallas Cowboys as the OTA’s (Official Team Activities) begin on May 27th. With seven new draft picks added to the defense, it will probably be the area focused on the most. Head coach Jason Garrett often mentions the importance of creating competition for roster spots this time of year. Fans often hate to see a favorite player released, waived or traded, but players understand that the NFL is a business first. Be prepared to see plenty of new faces as the Dallas Cowboys prepare for the 2014 NFL season.

My current area of focus is on the Dallas Cowboys collection of linebackers. Three of them have name recognition. There’s Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and DeVonte Holloman. Very few remember that Justin Durant was the third starting linebacker. It’s unfortunate, but it goes to show how little impact he had on games. Bruce Carter is infamous for the wrong reasons. Carter was torched by the San Diego Chargers’ Danny Woodhead for two touchdowns then lost his starting job and was blasted by the media and Cowboy Nation. Definitely not the way to make a name for yourself.

I know that one game shouldn’t make or break a career. Yet, I took time to watch the defensive plays from the Cowboys season finale against the Eagles. The game film only ignited my passion to see more of DeVonte Holloman on the field. In his first start, he led the team with 11 total tackles (6 solo), 2 sacks, 2 tackles for losses and 2 quarterback hits.

Justin Durant, the forgotten linebacker, missed that game because he was placed on injured reserve. Sean Lee was out due to a sprained neck. Holloman made the most of his playing time and I see him gaining a starting spot.

The other starting spot goes to Sean Lee. When healthy, he is worthy of the hype. I was lucky enough to attend the last Cowboys game in Chicago. There are things I’ll never forget about that trip: the temperature of 8 degrees with a wind chill of -9; the insane price of the hot chocolate in Soldier Field; Mike Ditka‘s number retirement (he was a Dallas Cowboy); and the pain of hand warmers stuffed in my boots. My favorite memory though was a comment by the announcer.

It was Sean Lee’s first night back from injury and he played like a man possessed. The announcer kept saying, “Tackle by Sean Lee. Tackle by Sean Lee. Tackle by Sean Lee.” Unfortunately, the scoreboard didn’t show how many tackles Sean Lee had at that point. After one defensive play, the announcer said, “Tackle by the Cowboys. I’m not sure who made that tackle, but it was probably Sean Lee.”

Who knows who will play in the third linebacker spot as starter. This is where it gets fun. There were two linebackers selected in the draft – Anthony Hitchens, 4th round draft pick from Iowa and Will Smith, 7th round draft pick from Texas Tech. Plus two undrafted rookie free agent linebackers: Dontavis Sapp from Tennessee, Keith Smith from San Jose State. Remember, with the Cowboys, undrafted players have a way of making the team so you can’t discount anyone.

 

Player

Height -Weight

Games

Played

Combined

Tackles

Sacks

Forced

Fumbles

Int’s

Passes

Defensed

Sean Lee

6′ 2” – 234

11

99

0

0

4

6

Bruce Carter

6′ 2” – 246

15

96

2

0

0

3

Justin Durant

6′ 1” – 228

10

24

0

1

0

1

DeVonte Holloman

6′ 1” – 242

9

26

2

0

0

0

Cameron Lawrence

6′ 2” – 234

11

10

0

0

0

0

Orie Lemon

6′ 1” – 242

5

5

0

0

0

0

Anthony Hitchens *

6′ 1” – 233

-

112

2

2

1

0

Will Smith *

6′ 2” – 231

-

120

4.5

0

0

0

Dontavis Sapp *

6′ 2” – 227

-

66

0

1

0

0

Keith Smith *

6′ 1” – 229

-

159

0

1

1

0

Jonathan Steward *

6′ 3” – 254

-

80

2.5

0

0

0

Martez Wilson **

6′ 4” – 252

4

4

1

0

0

0

Joe Windsor

6′ 0” – 241

-

37

4.5

0

1

0

 

The players with an asterisk (*) haven’t played in the NFL yet, so their stats are from their last year of college. Martez Wilson played with the New Orleans Saints last year.

If you like training camp competitions, this is definitely the group to watch. It’ll be interesting to see if Will Smith or Anthony Hitchens will allow the Cowboys to release Bruce Carter and Justin Durant this year. I wouldn’t be surprised.

 

#GoCowboys

#Best53

#YoungerFasterStronger

 

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  • Earl Robertson

    Feel the same way about Holloman he is a good example of why you want to pick players from big time programs the upside is way better!!

  • Bill Smith

    I recently went on You Tube to check out this LB Will Smith during the Holiday Bowl, check it out, he is all over the place..I also am wondering, at 6ft2, 220 lbs, if he lost a bit of weight, any chance him trying out as a safety?? Darren Woodsen was a linebacker coming out of college too.

  • Matty ice

    This linebacker core should be good they can start multiple guys and rotate them all I see a high upside to this team if healthy

  • ctcowboy1968

    IMO Holloman has to be on the field. The ball finds him. He is a definite playmaker. As for Durant, I remember being very glad when the Boys signed him. In the previous year he had led the Lions in tackles with over 100. Even in the games he played for the Boys, he was completely non existent.
    Starters should be Lee, Holloman and Carter. Definitely have to be prepared for Lee injury and Carter under performance. Wilber needs to be somewhere in this discussion.