Without Moving Carter Inside, Cowboys Will Suffer

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May 21, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (50) takes a break during organized team activities at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With Sean Lee’s season ending ACL injury suffocating the collective breath of Cowboys Nation, a feeling of doom and gloom has overwhelmed OTA’s.

Lets make no bones about it, the MLB spot is a crucial driving force in the center of the 4-3 defense.  He patrols the run game like no other defender, and prohibits short passing targets from exploiting the shallow middle.  It’s simply not good enough to field an adequate MLB in Dallas’ 4-3 defense to be very effective.

With an overwhelmingly dominant front 4 DL, the inside spot can be masked as his line provides clearer and uncontested attack lanes.  The overpowering DL disrupts and slows the ground attack for the second level MLB to clean it up.

The early 90’s Cowboys and the 2000’s Giants were examples of teams who could get by and compete at a high level with a merely adequate MLB.  The front defenders were explosive and the depth rotation was relentless.

The current Cowboys are sadly not near that level of destruction and consistency up front.  Without a top 10 DL, you must field a fast, strong, intuitively attacking presence in the middle.  That player just devastatingly left the building for Dallas.

The large majority of Cowboys fans continue hanging their heads with one question still unanswered…do we still have a chance to be a solid defense without Sean Lee?

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Tags: Bruce Carter Dallas Cowboys Mlb Sean Lee

  • David

    Carter has not show he can dominate anything. From what I have read they would put Durant there before Carter. Carter has been unimpressive and will be lucky to beat out Wilbur or Holloman unless he finds the flashes of greatness you talk about in other players. My guess will be they will go with Holloman or Hitchens there all of camp and if neither one is ready for the job then they go with a vet FA. Honestly this team seems pretty far away from serious playoff contention and may be well served to let one of those young guys play there all year. Winning a horrendous NFC East is no major accomplishment these days.

    • BradAustin

      Feel free to revisit Carter’s 2012 season playing ILB. Saying he wasn’t a force on the inside before going down for last 5 games of season is 100% incorrect. Was on pace to lead the team in tackles before he bowed out. He did have 11 games of production to make this judgement from. Why do you think Cowboys’ fans were so shocked when Carter became a liability in 2013???

      • David

        First of all that was a different scheme. Its one thing to have two MLB’s in a 3-4 then one MLB in a 4-3 responsible for everything with no help. The guy has shown glimpses but nothing consistent.

  • Earl Robertson

    Did you forget about Ken Norton? And then Robert Jones? In the 90s cowboys had some pretty good MLB especially Norton

    • David

      Yes and he missed most of his rookie season with a broken thumb and also missed time in 1990 for a knee injury that resulted in knee surgery. I guess its a good thing they did not go by you and Brads philosophy and cut injury prone players because he had quite the career after.

      • BradAustin

        No philosophy here on cutting injury prone players. My take is you can no longer take such an approach in today’s NFL. If a player is considered 100% recovered and has the talent, he’s simply not something to overlook if an option. I was all for drafting Easley at DT coming off knee surgery and now healthy if we had the chance. When we drafted Lee I was on board knowing we got great value. Also don’t feel Lee’s career is over here in Dallas. Just a shame we can’t keep the guy healthy.

        My main point is I’ve seen Carter dominate the middle following Lee’s exit. 3-4 ILB is not as different from 4-3 MLB as most are making it out to be. Requires very similar skillset. Carter was great in middle, and falling behind on outside. We all believed his talent level was up there with Lee after 2012. He didn’t lose that, just was out of place.

        As for Robert Jones, Dallas refused to pay him substantial money knowing it was the line making him look so good. I absolutely remember management making statements that MLB was a replaceable position in their scheme without committing substantial funds. Now Norton did go against that policy no doubt.

  • SmartThinking

    It’s too early to panic and start re-assigning players to new roles. The Dallas brain trust needs to step back, take a deep breath and logically approach replacing the MLB position based on what’s best for the team. There are a lot of options to select from including trying out their existing players, moving other LB players to the position, and going outside to find a MLB.

    Even the writers for the official Cowboys’ website are suggesting that this team has about as much experience playing without Lee in the middle as they do with him in place. They’re not sweating yet. I have to think those guys have heard already from someone inside the organization what their direction likely will be, at least for the short term.

    You can like Carter or hate him. He’s still an option. Same holds true for all the other guys mentioned so far. I have to think that Garret and company didn’t use their 4th round draft pick on Lee’s backup without knowing something we don’t. Or else, it was exceptionally good timing. Either way, the world isn’t going to end and this team, very well accustomed to playing with adversity, will figure out a way to get its best defense on the field. Whether or not it’ll be enough is still an open question.

  • Sensi Star

    This team should have been blown up at the end of last year. Lee nor Romo should have been resigned before last season.

    Are you signing them after the Eagles game and they are both on the sideline.

    Both should have been allowed to go into last year on the last year of their deals. At the end of the season you fire Garrett. Ware released as he was.

    This team would be in a much better place cap wise and getting a jump on the rebuild that’s going to happen.

    We are “Stuck and F’ed.”

  • Greg Hill

    There is a new “Doomsday Defense” in Dallas and that was before the Lee injury. If Lee was the cream of the crop then God bless the skim milk.