How can an already bad Cowboys defense get better after losing top players DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee? The Cowboys have to hope the players on the roster can get better. And there’s no player they’re counting on more than linebacker Bruce Carter.
Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus told ESPN that Carter has “ramped up” in the offseason, and there are big expectations in Big D about Carter this season.
“I think he’s taking steps in the right direction,” Eberflus said. “And he’s putting the work in. He’s meeting with me as much as he can. Studying the tape, giving him clear and concise goals daily for practice and he’s doing a good job of attaining those goals each and every day so when he does that he takes steps in the right direction to improve his fundamentals and his game.”
Carter hasn’t been quite the player the Cowboys thought they were getting when they spent a second-round draft pick on him in 2011, but this year there’s been talk that he’s more motivated because he’s set to become a free agent after the season. Head coach Jason Garrett, however, says the improvement he’s expecting from Carter isn’t about wanting to get paid.
“That’s certainly a cliché thing in all of sports, that people talk about, ‘He’s in a contract year and he’s going to take a different approach than he had up till this point,’” Garrett said. “I don’t know if I buy that with guys that I have been around. I think Bruce Carter wants to be a really good football player. I think that’s independent of anything that is going on in the business side. I think getting comfortable in this scheme for the second year — I think Sean Lee’s absence will help him. It will force him to step up a little bit more. It will force Justin Durant to step up a little bit more. Sometimes you can have a player as strong as Sean Lee is — such a great leader like Sean is — sometimes you defer to that guy. I think it’s really important for those guys to understand he’s not here right now. They have to step up. They’ve done a better job of that throughout the OTAs and minicamp.”
If the Cowboys are going to have any hope of their defense improving, Carter will have to prove his coaches right.