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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Defensive snaps: Bruce Carter beats out Dan Connor

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

A look at the snaps played by Cowboys’ defenders in the team’s season-opening 24-17 win over the New York Giants and analyzing what it means:

Gerald Sensabaugh: 56 of 56
Barry Church: 56 of 56
Sean Lee: 56 of 56
Anthony Spencer: 55 of 56
Brandon Carr: 54 of 56
Morris Claiborne: 54 of 56
DeMarcus Ware: 51 of 56
Jason Hatcher: 43 of 56
Bruce Carter: 30 of 56
Orlando Scandrick: 30 of 56
Sean Lissemore: 27 of 56
Kenyon Coleman: 24 of 56
Josh Brent23 of 56
Mana Silva: 22 of 56
Marcus Spears: 18 of 56
Mario Butler: 7 of 56
Victor Butler: 7 of 56
Dan Connor: 4 of 56
Tyrone Crawford: 3 of 56

It’s pretty clear Bruce Carter has won the inside linebacker job, considering he was on the field for 30 plays and Dan Connor played just four in the base 3-4 defense. Carter, a second-round pick last season, played just 41 snaps in 2011 as he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2010 at North Carolina. ... Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent, as expected, split Jay Ratliff's duties at nose tackle. ... Sean Lee, an emerging star this season, was the only member of the front seven on the field for every defensive snap. ... Rob Ryan must feel good about the depth on the defensive line with five guys playing between 18 and 43 plays. ... Anthony Spencer was terrific against the Giants, which meant there was virtually no playing time for Victor Butler. ... Mana Silva was on the field for 22 plays, an indication Ryan likes the concept of playing an extra safety, usually Danny McCray, in coverage instead of two linebackers when he uses schemes with six defensive backs. Since McCray (sore neck) missed the game, Church moved into the linebacker slot and Silva took his spot at safety.