3 Cowboys who aren't safe with Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator

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2. LB Damone Clark

Unlike Scott, Damone Clark saw ample playing time this season. Of the Cowboys defensive starters, only Stephon Gilmore, DaRon Bland, Micah Parsons, Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse logged more snaps than Clark's 784.

Clark had some strong games in 2023, but he didn't progress at the rate fans hoped after his promising rookie year. He was largely outperformed by Markquese Belle, who's a safety by trade and converted to LB after Leighton Vander Esch's season-ending neck injury.

Zimmer's arrival is great news for the Cowboys linebacker room. He's most always gotten the most out of the position. Eric Kendricks Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are his most notable success stories. Zimmer recongizes the importance of having strong off-ball linebacker play.

If 2023 was any indication, Clark isn't ready to be a full-time starter. Whether the Cowboys splurge on a free agent or select a LB high in the draft (or both) this offseason, Clark will have more competition than in either of his first two seasons. His experience as a starer will work to his benefit, but Zimmer's history of wanting high-level LB play suggests the LSU product could enter training camp on the hot seat.