Will Kenyon Coleman remain the starter at DE?

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
4:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Kenyon Coleman is a solid run stopper at defensive end that the Cowboys value.

But with Coleman missing the last two games with a hyperextended knee, it allowed Sean Lissemore to take over the starting role. Coleman's expected return for Sunday's game at Baltimore could push Lissemore back to the bench.

Or will it?

"Those guys play so much, regardless," coach Jason Garrett said. "We don't get too caught up with the defensive line and who the actual starter is. Liss has certainly shown he can be an awfully good football player defending the run and against the pass. He will certainly have a role on this football team going forward. But, again, it will be exciting to get Kenyon back, as well. He's a very good run defender and a big part of what we're doing with our defensive front."

The Cowboys have a solid defensive line rotation where it doesn't matter who starts because the snap counts will be evenly divided among several players.

As an example, in the Week 4 game against Chicago, the snap counts for the defensive line starters were as follows: Jason Hatcher 43, Josh Brent 37 and Lissemore 36; Backups Marcus Spears 22 and Tyrone Crawford 12.

Before Coleman was injured in the third quarter of the Week 2 game at Seattle, here were the Week 1 snap counts against the New York Giants for the defensive line: Hatcher 42, Lissemore 27, Coleman 23, Brent 22, Spears 18 and Crawford three.

Now, Crawford's overall numbers have increased with Coleman out. Spears' numbers have basically remained the same because he rotates on run plays and can play both end spots.

With Jay Ratliff returning this week for the game at Baltimore, it will be interesting to see how the defensive line rotation works from a playing time standpoint.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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