In the past two years, the Dallas Cowboys have brought in two inside linebackers via the draft--Sean Lee and Bruce Carter--who, after signing, were forced to miss time due to injuries. Since these guys were rookies, there was plenty of reason for the team to worry about whether they could learn the defense on film and playbook study alone. With veteran Dan Connor, who was brought in in free agency this offseason and is coming off shoulder surgery, there is no such worry for obvious reasons.
“He’s a very instinctive player,” head coach Jason Garrett said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You see him see things unfold very quickly and get where he needs to get. I don’t think understanding football and understanding schemes are an issue with him. He’s been banged up a little bit. The biggest issue is he hasn’t really practiced football with us.”
While he missed all of OTAs and mini-camp, Connor has been studying hard, and he isn’t any more worried about picking up Rob Ryan’s defensive schemes than the team is--which is to say, he’s not all that concerned about it.
“I’ve been in three different systems already in Carolina. So this is the fourth system,” he said with a shrug. “You can only run so many coverages. Kind of getting the names down, what name is what, is pretty much it. Once you get that done, you’re good.”
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