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The Cowboys Miss Bobby Carpenter... Seriously

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Hey, remember Bobby Carpenter?

No?

Well anyway, he was a linebacker. The Cowboys drafted him in the first round in 2005 out of Ohio State. He never did much of anything until last year, and by then, the team deemed him expendable. Indeed, he seemed pretty expendable. The general thought, when he was sent to St. Louis in exchange for Alex Barron, was, “Well, better a bust offensive tackle than a bust inside linebacker.” We had plenty of inside linebackers, after all.

So, what I’m about to write next would have seemed almost inconceivable this summer, but, you know, here we are: the Dallas Cowboys miss Bobby Carpenter. Weird to read, weird to write--but it’s true.

This is because the Cowboys have no one to relieve veteran inside linebackers Bradie James and Keith Brooking on third downs, a role Carpenter filled to some success in 2009. Head coach Wade Phillips isn’t comfortable with consistently replacing the veterans with anyone on third downs, as he was with Carpenter, and this has led to Brooking, 34, and James, 29, to play all but six defensive snaps this season. Phillips doesn't want to continue down this road but, until someone steps up--and with the veterans flourishing on third downs--he has little choice. 

“Brooking and James, we really don't want to play them every play
,'' Phillips said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We're going to have to find some way not to do that, but it's still got to be guys stepping up.

“We don't want to just take people out just to take them out, either. We've got to have people play just as well, certain situational players. So we're still working on that, and once we feel comfortable on that then we'll do that more.”

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