The Cowboys were disappointed when Pittsburgh took linebacker Ryan Shazier one pick ahead of them in May's draft, and they want Rolando McClain to earn the starting middle linebacker job because it would allow the coaching staff to move Justin Durant to Carter's position.
But Carter gave the coaching staff a glimpse Saturday of why they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft with a nice diving deflection of a pass in the first quarter and an apparent blocked punt that was nullified by a penalty.
"Actually Bruce had some good things happen for him tonight and I particularly like him on that pass coverage," owner Jerry Jones said. "He shows what he can be for you on plays out there. But I thought Bruce really in practice or in a game, probably has looked the best he’s looked."
Carter has the size, speed and athleticism the Cowboys want in a weakside linebacker. Athletically, he fits this scheme perfectly because it allows him to run freely to the ball sine he's always protected from offensive lineman by a defensive tackle. Carter's problem is he still thinks too much on the field, which negates his athleticism.
Whether Carter starts or not, he's going to have a significant role in the Cowboys' nickel defense because of his pass-covering ability. He's entering the last year of his contract and the Cowboys, for now, have no plans to re-sign him.
It's up to Carter to change that.