It is the same story different season for the Dallas Cowboys and Sean Lee. Lee is a very productive player and one of the teamLee's knee injury has left the Cowboys defense with a big question mark at middle linebacker.
leaders, but he can't seem to stay on the field. In four full seasons with the Cowboys Lee has not played a full season yet. Before Lee's injury, it appeared as if the Cowboys would have a very good linebacking corps with Lee in the middle, Bruce Carter or Justin Durant on the weak side and DeVonte Holloman or Kyle Wilber on the strong side.
Jason Garrett has said that the players on their roster will have every opportunity to fill this position, but they will basically leave no stone uncovered to find the very best player for the position.
"We will give our guys every opportunity to fill this position. The vets that weren't healthy last year we will give them a shot, we are also always looking at free agents on the streets, trade opportunities, anybody who can help our team. We are focused on the guys that we have right now though," said Garrett.
8th year pro Justin Durant appears to be the first choice of the Dallas coaching staff as to who can step into the middle linebacker position that is on the roster as of right now.
"Durant has worked at that spot and is experienced in this scheme. We like what we've seen in tape of him from last year. He was banged up a lot last year, but he runs to the football well, made a lot of plays, we need to keep him healthy and find the best spot for him," said Garrett.
Durant says he is ready for this big opportunity to step up and be a team leader.
Bruce Carter, a 4th year pro is one of the team's better athletes and should be one of the three starters at linebacker, probably at the weak side spot. Carter has the size and speed to play the middle linebacker position and was productive last year, registering 96 tackles from his weak side spot.
"Carter is one of the best athletes on team, he has a lot of potential. Injuries and changes in the system has slowed him down some. He has gotten better and better every year, he has studied the defense a lot, and has done a very nice job in the 4 OTAs," said Garrett.
DeVonte Holloman should end up at one of the starting linebacker positions and is a possibility in the middle. He did fill in at middle linebacker in week 17 last year and had one of his better games, registering 11 tackles and 2 sacks versus the Philadelphia Eagles. Holloman needs to show that he can stay healthy and be more productive when he plays.
Luckily, Dallas did draft two linebackers in this year's draft, Anthony Hitchens and Will Smith. In my opinion Smith is more of a weak side linebacker, but Hitchens has the size and speed to play in the middle. Garrett has stated that Hitchens is doing very well so far.
"Hitchens has done a very nice job, he gets better right before your eyes, he goes about things in the right way, he's coming to work and studying hard and it is showing up in his play; he's instinctive, an aware player," said Garrett.
To view video and draft grades for all the Cowboys' 2014 draft picks including Hitchens and Smith, click here.
What seemed to be a position full of young stars ready to break out in Lee, Carter, and Holloman has now become a very big question mark.