Found August 17, 2012 on Fox Sports Southwest:
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- Bruce Carter's rookie year with the Dallas Cowboys was more like a redshirt season. That is what the Cowboys expected when they used their 2011 second-round draft pick on the linebacker coming off a knee injury. He was on the non-injury list through training camp and came back for the final 10 games as primarily a contributor on special teams. "He did all of that stuff and he showed flashes of what we saw in college during that time working on special teams," coach Jason Garrett said. "And then we felt like this offseason was going to be really big for him. And he's really, really accepted the challenge to step up and compete for that starting spot." Carter knows this is his chance to show what he can do and prove that the Cowboys didn't make a mistake picking him 40th overall even knowing they would have to wait for him to get healthy. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Carter is playing inside linebacker for the Cowboys after being an outside linebacker at North Carolina. He got to training camp this year competing with veteran free-agent addition Dan Connor to start opposite Sean Lee. For the first play of the Cowboys' preseason opener this week at Oakland, all three of the inside linebackers were on the field. "I'm just excited to get out here. It's been, it feels like forever for me that I actually even played football," Carter said. "To get out here and showcase my talents and just play football, and go out there and have fun. I don't really think it's any pressure. ... I'm just trying to show the coaches that I can play, come out here and compete as much as I can." Throughout camp, Carter and Connor have been sharing snaps with the first-team defense. Carter has had several standout plays, including intercepting a pass thrown by Tony Romo that he returned for what would have been a touchdown. "He's the guy we thought he was when we drafted him," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "He was outstanding athletically (in college). But his scheme was a little different. I think he'll make more plays for us than he did for them. ... I think he'll be a better factor inside than outside." Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has noticed as well, telling reporters unsolicited one day about the progress Carter is making. After starting 44 of his 49 games at North Carolina, Carter sustained a season-ending ACL injury in his left knee late in his senior season that required reconstructive surgery and sidelined him for several months. Though he didn't miss any offseason workouts with the Cowboys because of the NFL lockout last summer, he was on the non-football injury list from the start of training camp until being activated in late October. "I used that time to get my body back," Carter said. "I was still rehabbing so I just tried to get my strength and my legs back." Carter got only limited snaps on defense and had only one tackle after he made his Cowboys debut. But Carter said the extensive time on special teams gave him a chance to get used to the speed of the NFL and how the game operates. In addition to the physical workouts since last season, Carter also spent plenty of time -- with Lee and Connor, and on his own -- learning Ryan's complex defensive scheme. "Just like in OTAs, he's gotten better each day with experience," Lee said. "He's got athleticism, he knows how to play the game. He's just getting that experience that he needs, and he's putting the work in, he's putting the study time in, and it's a matter of time before he's going to be a really good football player, and he's showing it right now." Garrett said Lee, who like Carter had to overcome an ACL injury in college, has great dedication and intensity in how he works every day. The coaches believe Carter is seeing that and following suit. "I'm seeing the real player now," Ryan said. "Before, I know he was helping a lot on special teams, he wasn't doing a whole lot for us on defense. We'd have like a limited package put a couple of calls in, and that's why his production was down, he wasn't ready. But he looks like a real player now."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Cowboys fan Janelle Carrillo suing team after burning butt on bench outside stadium

When you are worth around $2 billion and own one of the most successful franchises (from a business standpoint) in all of sports, very few lawsuits should come as a surprise. However, something tells me even this one could surprise Jerry Jones. According to CBS in Dallas-Fort Worth, a woman named Jenelle Carrillo has filed a lawsuit against the Cowboys and Jones after she allegedly...

Witten sidelined with spleen injury

Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten has a spleen injury and will likely miss the rest of the preseason. It is unclear if Witten will be ready for the Dallas Cowboys' regular season opener in three weeks, Sept. 5 at the New York Giants. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that Witten sustained a ''slightly lacerated'' spleen in the preseason opener Monday night. He...

Morris Claiborne set to make Cowboys debut on Saturday

Dallas Cowboys 1st-round pick Morris Claiborne is finally healthy and ready to make his preseason debut on Saturday against the Chargers. Claiborne stated that he would be willing to play the entire game if coaches let him, but it’s likely the Cowboys will ease him into action. Claiborne has battled injuries throughout the offseason (wrist and knee) and is just now completing his...

Cowboys Optimistic Regarding Miles Austin

Despite not being available for practice this week because of a strained hamstring, the Cowboys are optomistic that Miles Austin will be ready to go August 25th for the team's third preseason game against St. Louis.Fantasy Spin:Austin has always been an effective receiving weapon for Tony Romo when he's been healthy, but unfortunately his hamstring has been giving him fits...

Jackie Chiles wouldn’t have taken this burned butt lawsuit against the Cowboys

Granted, Jackie Chiles is a fictional character but let us not dither over such trivial details. The fact remains that if Mr. Chiles were somehow a real-life attorney possessing the same scheming mentality, it’s doubtful that even he would have been able to hold his nose enough to sign on to advocate for this woman [...]

Jason Witten Suffers Lacerated Spleen

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten suffered a lacerated spleen in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. Head coach Jason Garrett informed the media of the news on Wednesday raising vast concerns for the Cowboys offense should Witten be forced to miss time in the regular season. As of now, Witten must be as “inactive as possible” and the...

Woman sues Jerry Jones after burning her butt on bench outside Cowboys Stadium

AP Photo According to Will Brinson of CBSSports.com, a woman is suing Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for burning her butt on a metal bench outside Cowboys Stadium. “A woman named Jennelle Carrillo is suing the team and Jerrah because, while attending the Blue and Silver scrimmage in August of 2010, she sat down on a bench outside Cowboys Stadium and suffered third-degree...

Jason Witten Injury, Fantasy Football Analysis

  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] Jason Witten's injury is distressing Cowboy fans and the fantasy football owners that drafted him.[/caption] Just to show how quickly things can change in the world of fantasy football, Jason Witten, one of the safest tight end picks in the draft, has now become a risk due to a "serious...

Top 10 takeaways from the Cowboy Bench Lawsuit

I swear I'm not making this up: a Cowboy fan is suing the team for getting burns from sitting on a bench outside Cowboys Stadium before a team scrimmage in August 2010.No, seriously.Anyway, here's all you need to know...10) Yes, the Cowboys' legal representation does give the team a bulk hour billable discount9) Like the vast majority of Cowboy fans, standing would have...

Dallas Cowboys: Most Loved and Hated Players

Football is a rough sport, both literally and figuratively speaking, and no one knows this better than the Dallas Cowboys. Since Tony Romo emerged as the franchize's starting quarterback in 2006, the Cowboys have been under more scrutiny than any other team in the NFL. This is partially due to the label of being "America's team," but the bigger issue is the fact...
NFL Forum Discussions
Can't wait SPLASH MESSAGE! 2 days!
4 replies, 1 day ago
1st win 2013!
2 replies, 1 day ago
Thank you kinmosa and watamote!
4 replies, 1 day ago
Rodgers out 3-6 weeks?
4 replies, 1 day ago
Thank you Vikes!
4 replies, 1 day ago
Thank you 5 years!!!!!
2 replies, 1 day ago
Home Sweet Home!
2 replies, 1 day ago
NFL on NHK next week
2 replies, 1 day ago
Pro Bowl draft
2 replies, 1 day ago
We are NFC EAST Champion!!!!!!!!!!
2 replies, 1 day ago
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.