Outside linebacker Bruce Carter #54 of the Dallas Cowboys tries to tackle running back Pierre Thomas.
Paging Mr. Carter, Mr. Bruce Carter. There is a family emergency and your presence is requested. Please show up, immediately.
I’ll admit it, I was wrong about the Cowboys’ third-year linebacker. I thought he’d have a breakout season. His speed and athleticism were a perfect fit for weakside linebacker in Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme. Along with Sean Lee, I surmised, the Cowboys would have one of the NFL’s best 1-2 linebacker tandems.
As we enter Week 12 of the NFL season, the Cowboys’ biggest disappointment must instantly transform into one of its strongest leaders. Recently benched, Carter must now become a positive playmaker.
Carter had two sacks in the first two games, but was exposed and beaten badly on two touchdown passes against the San Diego Chargers in Week 4. He was benched in favor of aging veteran Ernie Mills for crying out loud. And in the last eight games he has just two quarterback pressures, one pass deflection and a single tackle for loss.
And while I still don’t the Cowboys collectively quit in their 32-point loss in New Orleans, safe to say it wasn’t Carter emotionally dragging his team to an epic comeback. Like a lot of his teammates, in that game he accepted mediocrity.
But now, with Lee sidelined with a hamstring injury the next couple of weeks, Carter must be a starter, a leader and a productive player. He’ll call the signals for the defense, and he also must make the plays. If not, the Cowboys’ defense will continue its negative attack on the franchise record books.
Carter’s too talented to be a part-time player. If he doesn’t show up in Lee’s absence, the Cowboys will face a couple of harsh realities: 1. They will again miss the playoffs; 2. Carter might just be a second-round bust.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.