After being limited in his rookie season by lingering knee issues from his college career, inside linebacker Sean Lee emerged to lead the Dallas Cowboys in tackles in 2011, and further, established himself as a leader on the defense. While it would be crazy to expect similar output from Bruce Carter--who, like Lee, is a second round pick, an inside linebacker with first round talent who slipped in the draft due to knee injuries--the team has high hopes for the North Carolina product as he embarks on his second season in the league.
“Bruce is like a lot of young guys. He has to play,” head coach Jason Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “He has to play more football. He’s shown us he can come in and do the job both in the run game and defending the pass. He’s just going to get better and better and better. I think he’s got a really good linebacker corps to work with, playing next to Sean Lee, playing inside of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. I think he understands the standards those guys have to practice and play the right way.”
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan took his expectations of Carter even further. Ryan believes Carter, who will see a greatly increased workload in 2012 with veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James gone, has the potential to be one of the better inside linebackers in the league.
“I think Bruce can be special in coverage, I really do,” Ryan said. “I think he can be a special blitzer. We’ll find out. It’s good to get him out there. He’s come a long way from that injury that he had. He’s worked really hard with Matt Eberflus and Sean Lee, his two coaches, so he’ll be ready to go."